Best of the Blog, Personal Ramblings

Looking Back

Today has been a reflective day and even though I know it’s not the end of my trip quite yet, I want to write about what I’ve learned over this past year of travel. I’ve learned a lot about myself, from how I want to live to how hot it can get before I melt with no air conditioning. Over a year ago I graduated university and got on a plane to Sweden. I was running away from the uncertainty of finishing school, running away from a bad relationship, and running away simply to see what I could find. I traveled to 12 countries in Europe over about 3 months and I learned that this was way too fast to travel for me. At that speed I was spending no more than 5 days in a place and feeling very unsettled, I was always making new friends just to leave them a few days later, always learning a city just to leave it, and never feeling like I really got to know a place.

Fast forward through the 4 months at home making money to get on the road again and by New Year’s Day 2016 I was on a plane to Guatemala. My traveling in Guatemala was different than Europe, I was living in Xela for 5 1/2 months and building a life for myself. While Xela wasn’t my favorite place in the world I much preferred building a life there to the constant movement of my time in Europe. Yes in Europe I saw more, but I burnt myself out and I ended up not enjoying it as much because of this. In Xela I made friends, I learned salsa, I met Kane, I fell in love, and I really lived. My time after Xela has been more like Europe, all be it a little slower, more like a week in each place, and it’s burning me out as well. Although that just might be the feeling of coming to the end of a long trip.

What I now know about myself is that I need a home base, I need to feel like I have a home somewhere, even though it doesn’t matter where. I get tired of the purely nomadic life that some people love so much. It sounds silly but I need a place where I can have my routine, my friends, my gym, my cafes, my own kitchen, and my life. I love to travel, I just need to do it slowly over the long term, by spending months in a place, or shorter term, a few months traveling then back to home base. The funny thing is that I don’t really care where home base is, it could be Australia as easily as it could be Portland, but I need one. Some people might say I’m less of a traveler because of this, that if I can’t live the nomadic life year round I shouldn’t call myself a traveler, but I call bullshit on that. There isn’t one type of traveler and one type of traveler isn’t better than any other. You can be the lifetime nomad with your backpack holding your only possessions in the world or you can be the family on vacation for two weeks, children in tow. The key is that to be a traveler you need to have that unquenchable desire to see the world, to want to learn at every step along the way, and to love the journey. The journey doesn’t need to be never ending to be important.

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