08.01.2015 - 17.01.2015 72 °F
At some point you knew I would have to write about some of the more difficult aspects of
long term travel.
I'd hate for you to think that all travel is romantic, rewarding and renewing. There are days
you wake up in yet another small, messy room in a not so interesting place with a slight head cold, and you
begin to look at things differently. You question a few things but find yourself grasping at answers
and you just want to lie in bed like some laconic doggy sprawled in the middle of the road.
Very often here in Mexico you'll find sullen-faced pooches lying casually strewn about most of the
unbusy streets like fur-matted leaves dropped from some dumb-dumb-doggy tree. They just lie there in some kind of
drunken siesta-like stupor with a look on their face that reads: "Maybe I'll eat today or maybe
I'll get run over. Either way it's all good."
For me, I occasionally have travel days where I feel like that and I've come to realize that
that is OKAY.
Longterm travel is difficult in that you are constantly uprooted every so often from your 'faux home'. You are constantly
shlepping a big bag and then you must contend with a new environment and new people virtually everyday.
Add to that the pressure of feeling like you have to "live every moment" in order to appease
your reasons for taking this long journey in the first place. All of that can wear on you from
time to time but usually lasts about a day. I'm lucky that it is raining outside so I
don't feel too guilty about wanting to stay in this prison-like hotel room to write.
I suppose when we decided to take on this journey we thought everyday would be an exhilerating learning adventure
filled with good food, great sight-seeing and great thoughts to ponder. Well, it CAN'T be that
way everday because you'll just burn out in a few short months and give up on the whole year-long
Andrea occassionally reads to me samples from books she's considering buying for her Kindle.
Memoirs, meditations and travel-related stories are her current interests and I would sometimes
hear parts that I fully understand and appreciate. One author describes how all travel is really
just a 'quest'. Often times we don't realize that we are on one and other times, quests we thought
we were on turned into some other different quest. The author made it clear too that "travel shouldn't
be a way of escaping something because no matter where you go, you will always bring some baggage you
thought you left behind."
She also read a chapter written by the singer/songwriter Sting. Sting describes taking a long
taxi ride through a rainy Brazilian forest, with his wife, to take part in a unique ritual.
The ritual involved drinking a foul concoction (called Ayahuascar) made from indigenous roots and trees that
apparently induces incredible visions. The very well-written story about what he experienced
afterwards was fascinating but what most intriqued me were his concerns, fears and confusion about this
whole endeavor. He was concerned about a myriad of dangers that could
befall him and his wife while in the hands of complete strangers and he grappled with his own
sense of reality while coming to grips with broken familial ties and death. Sting also referenced
a few Beat poets and the writer Joseph Conrad and I could see that we would get along well should
we ever meet.
What I mostly took from these reading samples was a sense that any new situation could turn out
either good or bad and that the truly important thing is to continue your quest regardless of the
outcome. That one should have the attitude that a quest or endeavor could help you or kill you but
attempt it regardless. "Maybe I'll eat today or maybe I'll get run over. Either way it's all good."
Maybe those laconic doggies are on to something?