Choosing a life of travel carries with it both adventures and sacrifices. While many people admire your choice and enjoy living life vicariously through your photographs, phone calls and blog updates, very rarely do they see the parts that are difficult. We display an image of our travelling world that hides the more trying and challenging aspects.
We don’t share the day-to-day challenges of communicating in languages we do not yet fully understand. We don’t share the feelings of loneliness that come when you are out of contact with loved ones. We don’t talk much about the confusion of negotiating our way through new norms and learning the ways of the cultures in which we are living. We don’t talk about the daily convoluted methods we employ to ensure we don’t get ill from the water or from a tropical insect bites.
And yet, we choose this life because anything else just would not work for us. Sometimes it’s hard to explain – but it’s a feeling in our gut. It makes any hardships entirely worth it!
I read this adaptation of Charles Bukowski’s “So, you want to be a writer?” recently, and adored it!
So, you want to be a long-term traveller?
If you think this is what people call comfort zone
because by doing this you will find out who you are but most importantly who you are not and who you’ll never be.
If you don’t know how it is to stay in the middle of the road without a map
if you have never let yourself get lost into the wilderness without a chance to be saved by someone else instead of you
If you’re afraid you’ll lose the best pieces of advice from your friends, their calls, the late night meetings, their laughter when something goes wrong, your mother’s voice, your father’s caress, your siblings’ bundle of joy
don’t do it.
If you think you will never be able to have a serious relationship while on the road but only love affairs without a happy ending
If you think love is just an old school concept, too staind and dispassionate for this new century
don’t do it.
If it doesn’t get easier to say ‘goodbye’ and ‘see you soon’ in front of every airport, railway station, hippie van, boat, ship or sailboat from this world
forget about it.
But if you suddenly start feeling hungry for change and foolishness,
if notions like “that isn’t possible” make you grin from ear to ear while making your backpack lighter
then wait patiently.
If you never felt the urge of running to the nearest train station and leave all your clothes at home
do something else.
If you think it’s nonessential to explore the world and discover new cultures
If you don’t want to learn new languages and develop new skills
you’re not ready.
When it is truly time you will wake up one morning take your backpack, open the door, leave the maps in the drawers and the keys in your pocket, and without thinking too much
you will travel until you die or the world ends while you’re doing it.
Because, my dear long-term traveller,
there is no other way
and there never was.