“Life….. Live it”, a sage quote from comedian Louie Anderson, the humour being the character saying it is absolutely hammered! If you haven’t seen the skit, it helps to imagine someone slurring this out, but with conviction. We’ve pretty much all been there, a few drinks in and suddenly we are deep thinkers and philosophers. Don’t worry I’m not about to get all existentialist on you. We all have priorities, passions and responsibilities.
Some paths are chosen, some consequential and some are serendipitous. It is not the intent of this piece to disparage anyone’s life choices. The title may sound egotistical, but look at it in that metaphorical way, here could be anywhere. Obviously here the focus is on travel, but no matter where life takes us, we should strive to be happy. “You’re here for a good time, not a long time”.
Enough of the ponderings. As stated the post is about travel and the desire to escape whether if be for a few days, indefinitely or anywhere in between. Unfortunately for most of us, the great escape, no matter how long or short it’s duration involves working, scrimping, saving and sacrificing. Oh but it’s worth it, just to get that travel rush. If travel is your endorphin, it must be facilitated.
“Men have become the tools of their tools”
– Henry David Thoreau
Ne’er a truer word was spoken! One would think with the development of technology and it’s continual progress, we’d all have a lot more time on our hands to enjoy. This couldn’t be further from the truth. On the contrary more is expected within a shorter time constraint. This new found “flexibility” really means you are now free to work from anywhere, to get those “TPS reports” completed. Many who take their holidays and get away, often work remotely whilst on holidays. They too “could be here”, if they would just allow themselves to be.
It is important to make work “work for us”, and not lose sight of it as the facilitator, both in our pre-travel lives and whilst actually enjoying the fruits of our labour.
“Indeed I have always been of the opinion that hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing to do”
– Oscar Wilde
Travel does not have to be an expensive, luxury endeavour. If long term wandering is your intent, do some research and plan a route that aligns with your budget. Not independently wealthy? Time to assess your priorities. Where can you cut costs in your daily life to feed the wanderlust. Cable/dish television, for example, will most certainly find a way into your budget, should that be something you cannot live without. If travel is a must, you will be able to set something aside for it. Cut the cable bill and save close to $1000 per year. Add it up.
A New You
Once your wanderings begin, opportunities will present themselves in ways which you could never have anticipated. Often in tandem with these opportunities, you will realise how you as an individual are changing. You’ll find you have gained confidence, trust and an openness to chance, whilst still maintaining common sense. Such life changing, money saving opportunities could come in the guise of giving hitchhiking a go or being offered passage on a private sailboat in return for assisting with it’s daily operation. One never knows what adventure lies ahead each day.
I’m not saying every day will be a wide-eyed adventure of rainbows and altruistic boat captains. The reality of it is if you really want to stretch your pennies you may have to drop your standards, especially when it comes to accommodation. This can be where the largest part of your daily budget goes.
Before hitting the road we invested in a couple of sturdy hammocks with the intention of using the hell out of them and saving a small fortune on digs. As it turned out we only used them 3 times, once at a beach and the other two times strung up under the palapas of different restaurants. It was just cheaper and easier to stay in local hotels. Hammocks require trees or posts and it helps if they are proportionally spaced apart. The majority of our over-night stays were just not conducive to slinging our hammocks. Hopefully we will get some use out of them in future adventures.
As discussed in “Why We Stay in Hotels Rather Than Hostels”, we’ve just found it more economical as a couple travelling to stay where the locals stay. The majority of these hotels were basic but great, with a few not so great and one or two, just bizarre. Haggling is acceptable and almost expected, just be reasonable.
Beyond the Sights
Naturally when we decide to travel there’s usually something drawing us to our chosen destination(s). Countries have become destinations based on natural beauty/features, historical significance/ruins, cultural oddities, gastronomical fare, genealogical research and just about anything in between. It can be easy to become obsessed with checking off every sight there is to see.
We are as guilty of this as most folk out there. It’s easy to convince oneself you may never be here again, therefore I must visit every museum, ruin, sight and place of interest as prescribed by my trusty guidebook or as recommended by a fellow traveller. This can be costly and you’re likely to become jaded with an aggressive agenda. It just becomes the “done” list.
Instead of looking at “here” as something “to be done”, immerse yourself in doing, well……nothing really! One of our favourite things to do is grab a beer and park ourselves on a bench and watch the world go by. If your hotel/hostel has a balcony, you have your own wee vantage point. This relaxing, observation session often includes chatting with locals and becoming more acquainted with where you’re staying.
Ramble through the local markets, take a random bus and see where you’ll end up, hike surrounding hills if there are any, or just stroll around. These are all thrifty ways to explore and create your own adventures.
“Here”, in relation to travel typically means being out of your norm, out of your comfort zone. Embrace it, live in that moment.
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all”
– Oscar Wilde