Not your average travel blog
Some people asked me to compare last year’s trip across North America, to this year’s. I won’t, purely because they were completely different and as I continue on this nomadic lifestyle choice, it’s not about the comparison, but about living one adventure to the next. Filling life with experiences and not materialistic goods. Last year I travelled mostly alone and met dozens of wonderful people to create my story. This year I spent almost the entire adventure with one friend, copilot and retiree. North America is vast and as far as I’m concerned, I’ve visited at least seven different countries on my combined trips across the USA and Canada. The adventures were deliberately, very different experiences, on a collage of very different landscapes.
The easiest thing for a traveller to believe in, is that there is always something new around the next corner. In an unfamiliar town, at the end of a long road, behind a tree, building or billboard, through a tunnel, under a rock, behind a door, and always on the next adventure. In today’s world, what you find likely won’t always be wonderful, untouched, pristine or natural, but it will be enlightening. This realisation is the reason to keep moving, to keep experiencing, to keep learning, and to try and keep smiling. Arguably, I don’t need to travel to test if I can keep smiling, but nothing enriches the soul more than new experiences. Personally, I happen to find these most beautiful and enriching amongst nature. A lot can be found on people’s doorsteps, inches from a front door. Some however is far away from man-effected ecosystems – systems which are becoming almost impossible to find. Many people travel to escape, but I appreciate “home” even more whenever I find myself back there. I miss people infinitely and I think if I won the lottery, the only thing that would change would be that I would be able to take people with me.
On the move more than most, to a distant observer, I may appear noncommittal or that I spend my life with my mind in the clouds (admittedly, I visit often). However experiences thus far, dealing with challenges that only arise on long and relatively isolated journeys have brought an overwhelming feeling of enriched understanding and humbleness, not to mention happiness. I find breaks from busy civilisation often, but finding time to truly relax on the road isn’t as easy as people think. When everything is new it’s difficult not to feel alive and excited, and therefore constantly having a busy and industrious energy (some people I know may disagree with how energetic I am…but I think it’s a state of mind).
Although not against holistic approaches, I am disagreeable with many “new-age” approaches or mind expansion (we’re not talking drugs), where seclusion or remote living somehow “completes” a character. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of certain hippyish habits, but seclusion is only one tiny aspect of living in reality and to escape civilisation is to avoid the world – and importantly, a more complete version of “self”. Granted, getting away from it all is required sometimes and all personalities need a break – more breaks than we tend to give ourselves. For many, to feel remote and alone is necessary to reflect and consider, but from people I have met and from experience, living as a recluse is often romanticised too much. By failing to deal with communal, or civil reality people are commonly unfulfilled. We all have a balance we need to find in order to be happy and amongst my journeys, which put thousands of miles between friends and my unreachable self, I still find the most wonderful moments in life are in the majority, with the people I love. I find there’s a big difference between running away from demons, and running towards enlightenment. Camping out in a tree somewhere, alone, only reaffirms how important shared moments are, which in turn, makes the moments alone all the more important. I have a bias towards travelling over homesteading, but I love not having to run from home. I find it grounding and important to miss my family, just as much as it is to seek and experience an adventurous constant. I often question “why?”, but am reminded and supported that I need to be myself – we all do – and we should all make efforts to find what balances us.
With more adventures pencilled in, with different continents within reach (tight finances permitting), life continues to be interesting and hopefully, I’m not hurting anyone with my approach. I’m going to end these updates across North America here. The ferry trip ahead, from Skagway to Bellingham WA, could toss up humpback whales, dolphins, more seals, sea otters and hopefully, my first orca! Following a few recuperating weeks (gin permitting) in Oregon, adventures in Malawi await…
See you in December.