Why Do I travel? This is why.
I’m sitting here in the shadow of Cascada Reina as I write this entry; my feet in the shin deep aftermath of the 50 foot cascades, my skin still tingling from the incredible rush of climbing under the cascades themselves. A smile plastered across the whole of my face. This is why I travel.
The soundtrack is J cole underscored with the incredible crashing sound of the water. Somehow it makes my favourite album of the year all that much better. This is why I travel.
The white water is surrounding me, my lungs are still recovering from the hike through the thick cloud forests of Mindo, Ecuador and I’m wedged uncomfortably between two rocks hoping to hell this tablet and blue tooth keyboard don’t slip off my legs into the abyss of the rushing water. This is why I travel.
I came here with 8 other people from all over the world, talked about Shakespeare, travel plans, fantasy novels, nature, different cultures. This is why I travel.
I’m alone now, in this paradise the others having continued along. Alone in paradise. This is why I travel.
It’s starting to pour down rain so I have to stop writing and continue exploring, hell I’m already soaked to the bone. This is why I travel.
It’s now tomorrow, and I came back, and am sitting beside another waterfall, one of the many I saw and got under both yesterday and today. I came with 5 new people from all over the world today and now I’m tucked around a corner writing in the mist of these miraculous cascades. This is why I travel.
The freedom of long term travel is incredible, no bills to pay at home, no need to set a schedule. If you like somewhere you go back to it. If you don’t you leave. If you feel like you need a day of doing little to nothing you take it and learn not to feel too guilty when you watch people on two week trips trying to cram in every little a thing. You don’t judge it either of course, You’ve been them not too long ago.
I travel because I’m damn lucky. That’s the heart of it I suppose. Luck, to be able to make it happen, mixed with a dash of bravery and a pinch of foolishness. There you have it, one recipe for a long term traveller.
I’ve been on the road almost 18 months now and foresee at least another 5 years of the trip. How incredible is that?
I’ve felt uncontainable laughter of disbelief in countless locations. The Meteora Monastaries of mainland Greece, Chiang Mai Thailand surrounded by tigers, The endless dunes of the Guajira desert in Colombia, The Galapagos Islands was more or less 8 days of that feeling non stop, and of course right here in Mindo.
Perhaps my favourite question that travel seems to constantly bring to my mind is a simple one.
How does this exist?
The word is full of absurdly awe inspiring places each one unique and wonderful. India’s Hindu holy city of Varanasi where I was a year ago today, The Choco province of Colombia with wild and untamed jungle beaches, Bosnia where people have largely recovered from war even if the destruction still dominates the cities, at a church built by local donations in Ipiales Colombia just a non descript border town, or in the eyes of children receiving their first ever books to keep in a tiny village in Laos.
The fact that in 18 months of journeying i’ve seen but a tiny fraction of this wondrous world enthrals me. The fact that even if I should be lucky enough to keep my nomad lifestyle going for all my life I’ll never be able to see all this world has to offer enrages me. But it makes me smile too.
To make a long story short I travel because I love it. It entices and enthrals every fragment of my mind body and soul. I hope I never stop loving it, just like I hope I never stop travelling. I’m a wiser person for my travels, but perhaps more importantly, I’m a happier person for them.
I’m a lucky bastard. I’m also the first to admit that. It’s not fair that I am able to do this and others aren’t, but you play the cards your dealt and I’m all in with this lifestyle because it’s what I love. If that changes… well I don’t think it’s going to honestly.
I’m lucky because I know a lot of people will never get the opportunity to explore these wondrous places, people, cultures and histories. Of course some others might have a chance and decide not to take it for whatever reason.
Often it’s economics, though travelling is cheaper than living at home if you do it right. I don’t and still only manage to spend at most 20,000 CAD a year without ever volunteering, working or even making sacrifices to my comfort levels.
Don’t get me wrong. That’s a lot of money but it’s my firm belief that travelling is one of the best things you can ever do and that should you need to, you can explore with much lower costs. To those people who could make it happen but don’t I’d encourage you to give it a try, make the sacrifices needed, roll the dice and see if you love it like I do.
It’s a great wide world around us, and nothing can be better than getting lost in it over and over again.