1.) I lost my motivation to be anything
I learned in my travels that I am happy exactly how I am. This quickly depleted any interest in being someone with a degree behind my name, someone with a prestigious title, someone with a good job, a house, four cars, a couple dogs and a yard full of children. I always work hard when I am at work, but I also have no ambition to become anything more. I just want to me, the me that’s simply going to die in x amount of years just like everyone else.
2.) I have trouble relating to people who have never travelled
The problems that people seem to have in their life don’t resonate with me. I want to share stories about bathing elephants and holding the hands of starving children and it seems like all everyone else wants to talk about is conflict in their life and their new iPhone’s. It’s not that there is anything wrong with talking about those things, it’s just that I’d rather not. I have to go looking for conflict for there to be any in my life and I would rather be immersed in positivity . In my own experience I’ve found that talking with those people who have been subjected to some sort of real travel experience are much more refreshing to talk to.
3.) Money has a different value to me now
The term priceless is so much more familiar to me. There are a lot of things that I believe that you cannot put a price tag on… including any given day of your life. I used to hold the value of money over experiences and days of my life. I would often say no to experiences because I would have to work. Now, I see working as putting a price on my day. $100 over enjoying a sunny day at a beach is not worth it to me. I’ve learned just how valuable my time is. This is not to say I don’t work or that I don’t want to work, it’s just that I am more cautious with the amount of time I give to my job. I used to work 60+ hour weeks for months without any time off… I just can’t do it anymore. I’m only 21 and feel like I’ve missed out on so much because of that time in my life.
4.) I no longer fear not following the traditional pathway
Everything I’ve done, from changing jobs, living in my parents basement, backpacking, dropping out etc… it’s all worked out perfectly. I used to fear the idea of not living a perfect life. I’ve learned that the only wrong way to live life is to be living it in a way that you really don’t want to be. While travelling you also get to meet lots of different people who live non-traditionally… these people are also extremely content in their positions.
5.) I feel sad for other people often
It makes me sad when I realize that school and work is all there is to life for some people. This is great for people who live through a life of school and work and are satisfied with it… unfortunately I don’t know that story to be extremely common. Lifestyles can be viewed the same as religion. I don’t try to tell people how they should choose to spend their life, I just simply live my own and others make judgements on their own. It is one thing to believe in one pathway to live but it’s another to force your idea of it on to others. I find myself living with minimal conflict and stresses because of the choices I make but I don’t care if anyone else doesn’t see my methods as fit by their own personal beliefs. I honestly just want people to find happiness and diminish life stresses created by attaining “stuff” in any way that they can for themselves.
6.) I’m no longer satisfied with one place
Yeah… I’m a little stir crazy now. I know that there is so much not only to see but to experience. Pretty self explanatory of course but the problem with this is you can’t really have things. It’s much easier to move around when you don’t have pets, children and a home. So how do I solve this? Well I just prioritise my need to keep moving and put things like babies, puppies and homes on the back burner. Will that be for forever? It could be.
7.) I find it difficult to enjoy sites and experiences made for tourists
Tourist attractions really just make me feel claustrophobic more than anything. Experiencing something unique is much more valuable to me than doing the same thing and taking the exact same picture as hundreds of other people. This is not to say that I don’t find myself at a Fair, Canada’s Wonderland or Peggy’s Cove and enjoying myself, I just find I take less from it. When I was in Asia, my partner and I actually skipped the famous sunrise at Angkor Wat just so we could go explore the other abandoned temples without any people around. I wouldn’t change what we did at all. Landon and I got an experience special to us instead of partaking in the Instagram frenzy that contains hundreds of the exact same sunrise day after day at Angkor Wat.
8.) I don’t like things without function
Things, things, things! I talk about this a lot. I don’t like things that don’t serve a purpose. This is why I think I favour minimalism so much. If you have few things, those few things need to add value to your life. I cannot fathom having hundreds of outfits simply for style, not function. People usually raise their eyebrows at me when I tell them all of my things can fit in just the trunk of a Volkswagen.
9.) I’m totally okay with sleeping in vehicles
Vehicles are much more comfortable than sleeping outside in a tent and you are protected by metal and locking doors. The way I see it, I finance my vehicle so it’s essentially like paying for rent. When I am on the road it doesn’t make sense to me to pay for a hotel if I already have a perfectly good car (not in the winter of course). This is actually quite frowned upon and I think when people hear of me sleeping in my car, they just assume I couldn’t afford a hotel room. I don’t know… it’s just one of those sacrifices I am willing to make to save some money. I remember my first trip to the mountains with Landon, he brought me to the Fairmont Springs Hotel in Banff and announced that we would be sleeping the parking lot there that night. I thought to myself… wow quite the catch I made, but now I honesty don’t see it any other way in the summers when it’s possible.
10.) I can’t help but search for natural beauty everywhere
There is so much beauty in everything and I find that finding the beauty in things is not necessarily on everyone’s to do list. If you think there is so much to be miserable about in life then the one finding the beauty amongst the storm is just irritating. It’s common for me to notice resentment when I try to pull forward the good in a negatively viewed situation. I think from travelling you always had to expect the worst. There were times our bus would break down in the middle of the night and we would be stranded for hours with no a/c. You make the best of things, I knew that that evening would become a memory I wouldn’t forget. In contrast there were passengers yelling at the driver to work faster at fixing the bus which to me is honestly just barbaric. Life is too short to live it in a hurry, to live it always being stressed and angry. I find it hard now to see it any other way.
11.) General aesthetics are out the window
I’m done with padded bras, I barely use any kind of makeup and why should I even shave? Since travelling these things just don’t seem to matter to me anymore. I’ve been aiming to be as natural as possible and find the beauty in the raw human body. At the end of the day I find these things pointless, especially if I am doing them for other people. Since backpacking and not having these things along the way, I have found I haven’t really missed them. I have felt way more beautiful in my natural human state.
12.) I do what I want, when I want to
I mean exactly that. When you travel, you have freedom. Your day is not a ridged structure and you literally go with whatever hand is given to you that day. With all of this time, you are completely in control. So now, try to tell me I have to do something when I know I don’t. “You have to work”, “You have to get house”. It doesn’t fly well with me. I have no fear of losing anything. I’ve become the employee that works jobs with as little commitment as possible, does her job and doesn’t think anymore about it when the shift is done. If I don’t want to work, upon my next availability opportunity, I don’t. I have chosen jobs that allow me to do this, otherwise I probably wouldn’t be working them. I can’t be tied down, I need to be able to do what I want, when I want. I guess we can blame travelling for that.
13.) I’m open to alternative lifestyles
One day I am humouring the idea of a tiny home, home schooling and eloping with my partner and the next day I can’t even imagine how I ever thought there was any other way. Weddings? A costly event that I have no interest in. A house? A $250, 000 mortgage that I have no interest in spending my life paying off just to stay in one place. Kids in school? What if we want to take them to Asia for a year? If anything travelling has just opened up my mind to alternative, often more efficient ways to live life.
So what does this come down to? Well, I guess I am just an unambitious, cheap, hairy, poor contributor to society. But I am a happy one at that.
I may have just described how the world would describe a backpacker. So has travelling really ruined my life? You can be the judge of that.
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Until next time,