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I think I've decided that I don't like travelling.
Quite a shocking discovery when you're not yet halfway through a year-long trip around Australia.
Call me crazy or lazy, old or boring, but I don't enjoy the stress of schedules and timetables, overnight buses and surprisingly shabby accommodations, living out of a backpack, wearing thongs (aka: flip-flops) in the shower, counting the pennies you spend and the bland rice and pasta meals.
I want to be warm; I want to be well-fed. I want to have a room to myself with no late-night party noises waking me up. I want to stay in one place and explore for a long time - really get to know it and feel comfortable. I want to do nothing but eat, sleep and sun myself, but have LOTS of fun doing that, with no worries. And I want to do it all for free.
I want to have my friends and family nearby, but meet new people. I want to be in a lovely, interesting place but not have to plan how to get there or around. I want it to have meaning in my life; to change the way I think and see things but not have to cope with the stress of change and culture shock. I want to learn about a culture and environment but not be inconvenienced by its undesirable location or its pristine lack of conveniences.
I want all of the things that result from travelling, without going through all the effort and money that it requires.
I want the meaning of travelling to be a flag that I capture wherever I go; a symbol that says "I've been here and I've learned that and I've done something special!"
Yet I know that the reason for travelling - the benefit one gets from it - has very little to do with the destination. That is, it's not about the destination itself. It is achieving that goal. It is all of the horrible, stressful things that go wrong and test your physical and mental limits. It is the people that you meet along the way that challenge your belief systems as well as those who reaffirm your belief in human nature. It is relying on yourself to make the journey happen, to carry yourself through to the end, and to figure out what you've learned from the whole thing.
And maybe right now, I want to do nothing. But maybe I will discover a different me along the way. I have already learned much about the value and the misunderstanding of the value of travel. I can't wait to see what else I learn.
living out of a backpack
Sunny, 22 degrees
Tales of a Female Nomad By Rita Golden Gelman