The Bothers, and Brilliance of Backpacking

Ponderings of a twenty-something in the wind

The thing about back-packing and travelling alone is that you become, or have to become, emotionally self-sufficient, you cannot rely on someone else to get you out of a mood, to take your mind off whatever is bothering you, distract you from the shit you will inevitably encounter, share the great moments, talk over issues, discuss news or current events.

Nevertheless, you do meet people on the road, and when you do, I think you actually tend to have better conversations, sometimes its pure rubbish, all the bad jokes you haven’t been able share, the latest political comedy we all wish actually was a comedy.  Sometimes you solve all the world’s problems, sometimes you have potentially endless and ultimately pointless arguments about conspiracy theories.  Travelling also forces you to be more social, less introverted, more vulnerable, people make friends at an accelerated pace on the road, there is less pretence, you can’t hide behind the façade you create at home, your job, your social circle, your white picket fence.  Here, you are you, and most long term travellers get that.

Sometimes you impress the shit out of yourself, sometimes you have hairy legs, haven’t showered in 2 days and hate yourself, sometimes you really want to have a breakdown, sometimes you just need a burger (or Oreo’s) and a Netflix day.  But in the end, you have to take care of yourself, give yourself pep talks, be your own cheering squad, be your own motivation.  It’s like taken an accelerated course at life!!

“Travel isn’t always pretty.  It isn’t always comfortable.  Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart.  But that’s okay.  The journey changes you; it should change you.  It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body.  You take something with you.  Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

-Anthony Bourdain

People put a lot of pressure on themselves, God only knows I have and do, we live in a fast paced, hectic, materialistic world, where the sale of self-help books and yoga retreats prevails.  And that’s fair, I put pressure on my-self because I like to know where I’m going, what I want, but to do this I need to know, who I am, and what I want, surprisingly or un-surprisingly this is easy to lose track of.  In seeking this I found that I lost sight of the simplest form of self-help there is!   And I think a lot of people do, the thing is, all that really matters, is that you do things that make you happy, or at least make choices to remove yourself from situations that make you unhappy, if you hate your job then quite it, if you don’t like where you live then leave!

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

– Oscar Wilde

Yes, there will be obstacles but being miserable is also an obstacle, so are you going to lie down and not even try, or are you going to get and climb the f**king wall and enjoy the green pastures beyond.  Then if you know what makes you happy, you know what makes you miserable, you know what you like and dislike, you know what triggers your moods, well then, my reckoning is your about as close as you’ll get to, KNOWING YOU.

 

Other fantastic things back-packing teaches you

  • You learn that you can live with less: a lot less…
  • You are tougher than you realize…
  • We all want to avoid touristy places but, A. you’re a tourist and, B. the tourists are there for a reason, and you don’t want to miss the magic…
  • Surviving without coffee and chocolate is brutal but surprisingly, also doable…
  • Sometimes everything sucks, but its ok…
  • Sometimes photos simply will not do it justice, so just enjoy the moment…
  • Enjoy the moment!!!…
  • You can survive a 17 hour bus, without leg room, sitting beside someone suffering severe motion sickness, because, yes the road is that bad…
  • Travelling is awesome…
  • Making new friends can actually be pretty easy…
  • You learn to value people, and memories more than things…
  • You learn that people actually don’t care and probably don’t even notice, that you’re wearing the same thing for the 3rd day in a row.
  • you learn to not take your-self so seriously…
  • The world is too big and life is too short…
  • Did I memtion learning that travelling is awesome?..

It’s basically the ultimate adventure!!

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So, quick quiz…

Do I talk to my-self?

 Yes…

Do I hole up in a hostel and watch stand-up comedy for hours sometimes?

Yes…

Do I miss discussing world events and politics?

Well I’ve been living in Tasmania so that was always a bit thin on the ground anyway!!  But yes, and also no…

Have I learnt what triggers my moods?

Yes…

Can I remedy this my-self?

Mostly…

Do I know my-self better after 10 weeks of travel?

Yes…

Do I know who I am

Absolutely not…

Do I still care where I’m going, what my next move is, how much control I have?

Nope not really…

What is my next move?

No idea, I’ll wing it…

Best lesson I’ve learnt so far?

Stop looking outwards for a sense of self-worth, look inwards, appreciate yourself, you are the person you must put up with and live with forever.  Don’t be a bitch to that person.  Treasure that person…

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And while I’m serving up inspirational qoutes…

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”

– Saint Augustine

 

 

 

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