This Wednesday marked 2 years since I set off for Vietnam, after quitting my job and selling off many of my earthly possessions. It’s surreal to think that I’ve been doing this homeless tourist thing for 2 whole years now. Boy was it a scary notion when I started, but it has strangely become my new normal. On this little anniversary of sorts, I thought I’d share my thoughts on this lifestyle and travel in general, interspersed with favourite photos from the last 2 years. I doubt they’ll be particularly insightful but what the hell.
It’s a Big, Big World
It really is. Two years and there’s still so much of this planet I’ve yet to see. Travelling full-time has allowed me to see more and different places than I could ever see otherwise and yet I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. Having now visited 57 countries, I know that’s more than many will ever get the chance to see, but there’s still so many more out there. Not to mention, for every country I’ve been to, I know there’s plenty of parts I’ve still yet to visit. That idea of seeing the entire world is totally unrealistic, but I have no intention of giving up.
Travel Fatigue Sucks
Travel fatigue is like a food coma after Christmas lunch, even too much of a good thing can wear you out. It first hit me several years ago, when I did my first big trip to Europe. After 6 or so weeks of moving through Switzerland, Italy and Slovenia I crashed. Since then, I’ve found that the 6 week mark tends to hold true for me and I need to anticipate it when planning. This involves setting aside a couple of days where I break that routine of travelling between places, getting my bearings, sightseeing etc. and just veg out. It first came with guilt that I was spending time of my trip on something I could easily do at home, but now I appreciate it as a sort of pallet cleanser. Afterwards, I’m ready to go again.
When you’re travelling indefinitely, you often hear “I’m so jealous that you get to just travel” and its hundred variants. My immediate thought is “I’m so jealous of your stable life, with a steady pay check and your own bed.” I think both thoughts carry the same sentiment: “I like what I have but wouldn’t mind some of what you have too”. Have your cake and eat it too as it were. Hopefully sooner rather than later, I can build some stability into this lifestyle while maintaining the rest of it.
It’s Not for Everyone
While it may seem ideal for a lot of people, not everyone is suited to living in a state of perpetual travel. I know people who have set out to do it, only to find that travelling indefinitely wasn’t for them. Whether it’s the stresses that come with negotiating constantly new surroundings or the longing for loved ones back home, there are obstacles that some people can’t or don’t want to overcome. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Who says that the only fulfilling way to travel is to do it one big long trip? Which leads me to…
People Travel Differently
The notion that there is a “right way” to travel stumps me. It’s so unbelievably arrogant to think that only your way of doing things is right. We all seek different things out of life, so it makes sense we would get different things out of travel. Just because other’s want to enjoy their experience different to you, doesn’t make your way any less right for you. I don’t see wanting to spend 2 weeks at an all-inclusive resort as any “better” or “worse” than trekking solo through some mountain villages. Different experiences for different people. Let’s stop judging others for the way they travel.
Blogging is No Joke
When I started out, I had no idea how much work was involved in blogging. I don’t just mean writing the occasional posts, but trying to craft regular and engaging posts, trawling through thousands of photos, managing multiple social media accounts and connecting with as many people as possible to get your content out there. Trying to do all of this as well as earn income and sightsee regularly is immensely difficult. I know I’m still a fledgling at this, but I’ve got a newfound respect for successful, dedicated bloggers. There really is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes that I ever could have realised.
There’s plenty of people out there that see tourists as nothing more than walking wallets. That’s because tourism is their business and its a competitive one at that. Starting in Vietnam definitely got my guard up to random strangers trying to chat with me, built rapport and make a sale. When you visit countries with lots of touts like that, it does build up a healthy dose of distrust in you. Thankfully, I’ve continued to come across genuine people throughout my travels that have reminded me that not everyone’s out to scam me. From the affable Polish Airbnb host who’s happy to chat for hours about this and that; the Moroccan carpet salesmen inviting me in for tea with no pressure to shop; to the Macedonian man who helped me find alternative accommodation upon arriving in the country. Remembering that there are kind, welcoming people throughout the world is important I think.
I’m under no illusions that I am immensely lucky to lead the life I do. To be born in a country and family that has allowed me to be able to afford living this dream is nothing but luck. That I don’t encounter prejudice and hate simply for my gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation certainly makes exploring the world considerably easier. It truly sucks that the wonderful experiences that travel offers are denied to some but that is sadly the way the world is. I know that I am extremely privileged to not only be one of the people who get to visit foreign lands leisurely, but to cobble together a lifestyle that allows me to do it frequently.
What are your thoughts on my thoughts? Agree, Disagree? Please share in the comments below.
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