“My kind of traveling” is very different to …
I don’t quite know how else to sum it up really. I often say to people who want to meet me:
“Are you sure, I’m kinda boring really”.
It’s like going on an archaeological dig, sounds cool to see all those old bones and maybe even a whole dinosaur! But, the reality is a whole day in a mud pit watching people with toothbrushes brushing away millimeters of dirt and then get very excited about it.
No, not my thing either. But Indiana Jones sounds so much better!
The romantic side to travel
Exotic destinations like island hopping in The Philippines. Exploring old European capitals like Budapest. Or watching hot air balloons in Turkey. Relaxed, fun and big smile destinations that will make your friends jealous no end.
Heart thumping adventures
Get stuck in the riots in Tibet during the second uprising. Travel overland into Iran as rumors of a U.S. invasion follows. Arrive into Pakistan during an assassination attempt, a climb to nearly 18,ooo feet in -40 degrees (wind chill), plus another riot in Nepal, not to mention finding the pyramids in China.
Yes, my life has had a lot in it …
Take a year off. Take a career break. Take 2 weeks off and visit another country, eat new food. It’s so very different to what you are used to at home. Even a weekend getaway, it feels good thinking about it right now, doesn’t it?
Now wrap that into nearly 7 years. No, it’s not like the above. It’s very different. And, I do believe, near on impossible for the majority of people to fathom without knowing a lot more. Hence today, this journal, and in the future a book.
This is no vacation, nor aimless travel adventure.
The notion of real perpetual travel might seem ideal, the raw reality is far removed from anything remotely pleasurable.
A hard notion for someone stuck in day job to comprehend. Harder still for those that want the ultimate freedom of travel, that requires such a job to finance. Worse are the market pitches claiming it to be true, they do after all want you to buy something from them …
For me, travel is a means, not an end zone
Here we must depart I am afraid.
Yes, travel to me is a tool to accomplish my end destination of finding a new place to live. It is a pioneering journey, but one that humanity has done for eons.
One that recreation has filled a void with, using short-term fixes.
I am looking for a permanent solution.
Climb Mount Kinabalu!
In the meantime these were the words asked of me one day by a group of nice travelers at a guest-house.
I turned down the chances to climb one of Malaysia’s most famous mountains that day without question.
Conversation and information over pleasure
I like pizza, and it fills me well. The owner of this particular cafe is an Italian expat. No better an opportunity to delve into the expat community of Sabah.
An essential part of last years journey was all about fitting in when living overseas. But, I was trying to fit in with locals. The expats, though some nice, were mainly a lot older, heavy on beer and younger girls. Not really my social scene. Local integration is not without it’s bumps either though.
Kota Kinabalu is a tourist city. Meeting locals here is a different ball game. Moreover the expats here are a lot more diverse. Again, mainly retired, they don’t seem so caught up in forgetting about the world in can of beer every day.
In this case, I had struck up a conversation with an Italian pizza cafe owner. It was worth more to me than seeing Mount Kinabalu.
I explore new places in a very different way to most people
Most importantly the pizza cafe owner was simply a wealth of information about living in Sabah. Not only from a practical side of things, but also from a side of life that’s very hard to get good information on.
The man asked me questions not of travel, but of living in different places.
And, what a relief to my ears it was to hold a discussion with someone about the reality of a life overseas.
We then talked about the womanizing ways of the French and Italian Prime Ministers. We laughed over the stupid things. We complained about the heat. We talked about The Sopranaos and how nothing has replaced it on TV, aside from Dexter, which I don’t think he knew about.
Yes, we just had a regular conversation. And, that was what I enjoyed.
The biggest question I keep getting asked is not about me nor travel …
I enjoy meeting people as I travel. When I do, I enjoy normal conversation. Conversation not about travel; nor the usual 101 questions I get asked about myself.
Why? The questions I get asked about in real life are not really about travel nor myself.
Most people are simply not interested in me, though the pretense is there. They are however, interested in what they think I have in the form of a “little blue pill” that can help them jump out of a life less ordinary: To embrace the rapture of freedom.
And, it’s true. Along with a few other things, I really do know the answer to this question.
But, it’s not as easy to swallow as “a little blue pill”.
Life’s big corner
Sure Mount Kinabalu is great. Please do consider climbing it. Photographing it. Writing about it. But I’ve climbed mountains on the top of the world and know the stories well enough by now.
Returning, the travelers from earlier were full of mountain talk. I listened to some funny quips, and typical stories. Not so different, but good for them.
However, when they asked what I had been up to, and I told them. They nodded half heartedly and smiled in polite necessity.
I understand perfectly. I’m like watching that archaeologist in a pit to them.
“We are both traveling, but for different purposes.”
A not so stellar meet up
Last week I met a couple over coffee via an email from this site. It was kind of awkward. They were on a one year round the world trip and full of excitement:
Have you done this, have you seen this?
Me: no, nope, not today.
Them: How long have you been here again?
Me: Yea, it’s just a different kind of travel.
Them: Nodding of heads and stares at the guide-book (aka, hoping someone can rescue them).
“Travel” is great, i enjoy it, but I don’t want to live it 24/7
In Bangkok I met a traveler with their own travel blog. The conversation nearly/has driven me to the point of removing the word “blog” from my own site. Something I debated heavily when I started this site.
Their main area of conversation was Google. How to get to the top of the search engine rankings. How to make money to travel. How to get free trips.
It got worse.
Next was how do you think “this person“, does it? Do you think I should talk to them? Or go and meet them?
By now I’d switched off and was making up conversations in my head in the hope the evening would come to a close that bit sooner.
Only the person wanted to go out for beers … and couldn’t understand my answer.
“Thanks, but no beer, I’m working tonight, and it’s not on my budget.” A blatant lie due to my stomach, but the last person I wanted to share my medical problems with was this person!
“It’s only one night and … we’re here!!!” (how many times have I heard that)
“I’m just gonna get something to eat and go back to the hotel.”
And yes, they were offended by all this. And no, at this stage of my life I didn’t give a hoot!
Been there, heard that 1000 times
After 6+ years of hearing the same questions … I avoid telling many people what I am doing. The really interesting people won’t be asking either.
I dare not say what I am doing anymore in a hotel or guest-house. Either that or I should just hand out a press-release of Frequently Asked Questions.
What a relief it is to meet someone like that Pizza maker, or a lone traveler on a train like last week.
They couldn’t care less about a blog, how many countries anyone’s been too. They just wanted a real conversation about life, and some interesting stories.
And, so do I.
I’m simply very happy to meet people who want to talk about anything other than “cool things to do” and everything about me or rather that “little blue pill”.
Sadly in person, just like that archaeologist; I’m actually a lot more boring to be around in reality than one might have thought.
It’s why I am very happy to write guides, how to’s, and all manner of helpful travel resources for everyone. But sit me down everyday and ask the same questions about how to get up and leave … well, I’ve answered that already.
The people I really enjoy meeting, and dare I say visa versa are those that know their path in life. And, are not looking for greener pastures one way or another. People with interesting tales, lives and stories. People that like to share experiences pro quo. Not those looking for quick answers.
At the end of the day, this, or any other really good lifestyle means: hard work.
The people I enjoy meeting are rarities, and I cherish the moments our paths cross!
No return travel …
I’ve not gone home to anywhere in my near 7 years of travel. There’s a difference, I’ve met plenty of people who enjoy travel but savor going home for respite in-between the journeys.
In my life, I have done both.
So yes, I can claim to be a 20+ year travel veteran if I mix and match my life’s travel ventures.
Let me write that the former is by far more taxing, and I don’t recommend it. It certainly wears you down. A lack of support, stability, security, and resources.
Even 2 years in Africa or The Philippines does not cut it. It’s simply not the same as having a “home” base. By a long shot.
Maybe it’s a lack of family, permanent friends, and support networks. Maybe it’s a mix of cultures, bureaucracy, security, age, life … the list goes on.
I’ve done it, and am doing it. It’s an arduous campaign. I have no regrets. But if people are looking for a that “little blue pill” this is not it.
Maybe after my campaign is over, I can package the “blue pill” a little better. Write better instructions, improve the compounds that create it. Make it taste better, or make it easier to swallow. Sounds nicer …
The future brings …
If you subscribed to my updates/newsletter, you’ll know what I am going through right now. If not … well, you missed out on that bit of news didn’t you!
As such, writing here will become sporadic. Cease at worse. And hopefully, let’s be positive, will continue unabated for a long time to come.
For now though … I can only close this page on my journey by saying …
I am a fighter and a survivor. I am an adventurer and an explorer. I am proud and I have honor. I will endeavor to continue on ….
(insert grin from the right side)