Packing up all my essentials in a backpack (and maybe a small duffle bag) & hitting the road has been an idea I’ve been toying with for some time now. I’ve read thru many of the previous discussions aleady touching base on this topic, searching for guidance & expertise from people who have already took the leap. I’ve read/ skimmed thru many blogs & websites dedicated to this as well.
Now all of these resources have been a great help & motivation for me, but when you sit around and think about something for too long, your mind starts to create every possible scenario of what can happen, mostly focusing on the negative stuff. What if I end up homeless? What if I run out of money? What if I can’t find a way to earn income? What will my friends and family think of this? How will I be viewed from a societal standpoint? And so on and so on. Naturally, I started to doubt my ability and second guess my idea.
However, recently, I had a breakthrough. My boss was talking to me about some reality tv show that takes Americans with negative views on immigration & puts them thru the actual process of trying to sneak into the States. They meet some of the people from Central & South America who are trying to come to the US and learn their story. They also go through some of the travel routes & experiences that people endure coming to the US.
Something clicked in my head as I listened to her explain the show. You have all these people who risk their lives & put everything on the line to go to a place that they believe will better their lives. They just get up and go. They may or may not have any money. Most of them don’t speak english, or can’t speak it very well. They’re not even US citizens & have nothing waiting for them once they get to the US except hope. Women risk getting raped or picked up for the sex trafficking. One kid left his home country because the cartel wanted him to work for them & they threatened his family. Many people actually die on these routes.
Then I started thinking about history & how people used to pick up & move, whether it be for exploration, work, a better life or whatever. Imagine picking up & moving to a land that is completely unknown. Now THAT is scary. But with the world today, every & anywhere that I could possibly want to travel to on earth is on a map & there’s a shit ton of information about that place on the internet.
My point is: if all these people can do it, I (you) for sure can too. My life isn’t on the line. All these fears in my (your) head are irrational & I’m the one creating them.
I hope this can serve as a motivation to anyone else thinking about an alternative lifestyle/vagabonding/backpacking/etc. You have to just do it. You can do all the reading & preparing in the world but actual experience is the only thing that is really going to prepare you. Have some sort of a plan (or plan to not have a plan), save some money, and GO. For now, my plan is to head to the Pacific Northwest & I’m aiming for a January departure date.
Just remember to enjoy your life & do the things that you truly want to do. This is all a temporary experience. Make the most of it.
“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac
“Your true traveler finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty-his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure.” – Aldous Huxley
“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese
“When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” – D. H. Lawrence
“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien
“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” – Paul Theroux
“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G. K. Chesterton
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins
“Worth seeing, yes; but not worth going to see.” – Samuel Johnson, on the Giant’s Causeway
“I should like to spend the whole of my life in traveling abroad, if I could anywhere borrow another life to spend afterwards at home.” – William Hazlitt
“One always begins to forgive a place as soon as it’s left behind.” – Charles Dickens
“Travel at its truest is thus an ironic experience, and the best travelers… seem to be those able to hold two or three inconsistent ideas in their minds at the same time, or able to regard themselves as at once serious persons and clowns.” – Paul Fussell
ROAD, n. A strip of land along which one may pass from where it is too tiresome to be to where it is futile to go. – Ambrose Bierce
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.” – Douglas Adams
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. – T. S. Eliot
“The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” – Muhammad Ali
“All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.” – James Thurber
Some quotes accumulated after a year and half of travel abroad. I remember sitting on the rooftop of a guesthouse in a third world country the day before i was to fly back to the states reading these quotes that i had accumulated on my way and realizing the depth of meaning in them. I was low on funds and apprehensive about making the reintegration into society but thankful too to be able to escape. Realizing that my travel was a choice and that millions, probably billions, don’t have the choice of travel, but are just scrapping to get by. These quotes are conflicted. The only advice I can offer is that which you already know: Stay grateful and grounded. Much love and peace on your travels and in life. Godspeed.
I really like how those quotes aren’t one sided. They reflect both sides of the spectrum. I’n going to take some of them and copy/paste them into a note on my phone so I can look back at them again later. And your year & a half travel experience sounds amazing. Thanks for your kind words and peace & love to you too.
I guess this post just brings out the quotes in people :) Reminded me of this one by Bukowski I just came across:
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery – isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”
― Charles Bukowski, Factotum
And goodluck once you actually go!