They say ignorance is
bliss and I do truly believe that.
My eyes were opened to
the world of independent travel and backpacking when I was nearly 25.
Learning about hostels and cheap means to travel suddenly made the
impossible seem possible. In all my dreams I never even had a speck
of an idea that I could go to Australia, Russia, China, Southeast
Asia, India, or anywhere else on my own or with the little money I
had. The whole world literally opened before my eyes.
So I started to dip my
feet in the rivers of traveling. I went about seeing more of my own
country first. I discovered how beautiful and diverse America was
with its grand national parks and unique cities and people. I then
took a few trips to Europe. Some of the trips were with people I met
traveling before. Others were on a tour. Sometimes I was all alone.
Traveling on your own
at first is scary, I must confess. But once you get over the initial
fear and just do it, it can be the most rewarding experience in your
life. You find yourself doing things you never thought possible and
it leaves you hungry for more.
Traveling can be a drug
to some. We call it the “traveling bug” but it's really so much
more. I'm afraid I am one that suffers from it. I suppose it's
healthier than alcohol or cigarettes, but just as expensive and life
altering all the same. It's not a completely negative drug.
Traveling is far more educating than school or books, especially if
you allow yourself to interact with the native people. If you are on
your own you grow and become more independent.
When you do come home,
that is the test to see if you are truly addicted. . For me, whenever
I came back from a trip I would feel sad, and empty inside. I would
try to hold onto the traveling feeling as long as possible by
communicating with friends on facebook and going through my photos
over and over again. As I felt my “high” of the trip slipping
away I would find myself on the computer finding the next place to
go. I needed that high so much that it led me to quit my job at 27
and become a full time traveler. I justified it by saying I needed
to see the world and experience life outside everything I had known.
Really it was about chasing the high and silencing the constant
I backpacked on my own
for 8 months. I went through Europe, Russia, China, Australia and
New Zealand. The hole was filled, but after time I must confess it
was getting to be a bit much. I was content to stay in New Zealand,
get a job, find a boyfriend, and enjoy the most beautiful country I
have ever laid eyes on. As a result I find myself craving the
career, stability and money I used to have. On the other hand, the
memories I now have are priceless and every morning I get to wake up
The “travel bug” is
nagging again. I look at the map and think of all the places I
haven't been to. All the places I would like to see. I tell myself
that life is short and I need to cram in as much as I can. I'm
nearing 30 now. The biological clock is ticking. This should be the
time when I ought to be settling down, comfortable in my job and
starting a family. I tell myself, just one more trip and it will be
enough. I know there will always be “one more trip”.
I really don't know if
there is a cure to this addiction.
On the other hand, I'm
also scared to rock the boat of my life again and disrupt the
somewhat stability that I have established for myself here in New
Zealand. I'm scared to risk what I have with my boyfriend (who is
from England) and I will never find another country that we can live
I say ignorance is
bliss because before I dabbled in this world I was happy. I had
everything that I thought I wanted. It was a simple life, and I was
extremely naïve, but I was doing alright. Had I not gone on that
first trip on my own I'd probably still be in New Jersey, teaching
away, probably with a couple of kids.
I don't regret anything
with my life. But I do often wonder what exactly the purpose is. Is
it to be forever on the road? Or will I eventually find a happy
medium? Perhaps there is still something great waiting for me out
there and I need to be patient enough to find it.