A winding, nonsensical and inconsistent account of my travels. A collection of observations, realisations and understandings.
For my own use as I learn about the world and myself, maybe you’ll find it interesting.
August 14th 2018
As I said, inconsistent! Today marks 12-weeks on the road. 84 days since I was dropped off at international departures in Melbourne full of wonder and giddiness. In this time, I’ve road tripped Route 1 on the West Coast of the US, seen Niagara Falls, got lost in Manhattan, eaten fish and chips in far eastern Iceland, sunbathed in Greece and people watched at the Duomo in Milan.
One of the habits that I’ve built whilst travelling is returning to Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. He covers so much of the travel experience, and calls to question several areas that I certainly had ingrained before leaving home.
For example, the idea that long-term travel is an impossibility, not for practical reasons, but because of not knowing the strategies. Take cost; living in hotels long-term is obviously not the idea, with a combination of Couchsurfing, friends/family and hostels, daily costs can be below that of what is spent at home. I did not do a very good job of this when I arrived in LA at the start of my travels (enjoying myself a lot on comfort eating out), but as I’ve moved towards a pseudo-minimalism approach to travel, naturally daily costs shrink.
A strategy that I’ve found particularly helpful is to maximise grocery spending relative to eating out. What I mean by this is rather than defaulting to going out for food, make a real effort to prepare food. Dropping $20 for brunch is insanity when making a simple omelette costs $1.
Whilst living in Melbourne, I loved the ‘foodie’ culture of eating out a lot, of brunching, of Asian-fusion, of pho and of cafe life. What I’ve realised over these 12 weeks is that I can appreciate a city and having amazing experiences and meet new people without spending anything. I am not criticising the idea of going out for food or anything, but only the habits that I’d built in Melbourne…
And this is the major perspective shift that I’ve achieved over this time. The idea that by living more intentionally, we can create time-wealth – creating time for our own pursuits and goals.
What did I want out of travel? Well that’s a question that I’ve returned to many times in my journalling, not with much success. The shortest answer is to see the world. The longer answer is some mythological-romantic idea of the magic of travel.
If I am feeling cynical, there is nothing to this idea. The adage “No matter where you go, there you are” is certainly something that I have experienced – having a great deal more ‘me time’ enables me to live in old patterns. But. This is not the point of travel. A new environment, a new language, new patterns and new people are all opportunities to understand myself better and to understand the world better.
Then when the magic takes me, I look at Google Maps and think “what on earth am I doing here?” or I puzzle over some street sign that I am sure nobody else has puzzled over, or I go to a bakery just to stare at foods, or I find a bench and watch people doing their thing.
The challenge with long term travel is that I never feel like I have any specific goal, something I loved as a Personal Trainer. With long term travel, the goal everyday really is to attempt to be the preconceived ideal and to create the days and experiences that I dreamt before leaving.