Why we travel

Recently, as my impending departure draws ever closer, the part of me which doubts has been screaming ever louder "Why are we doing this?!?"  Not because I do not want to, but because it is too huge a commitment to make without knowing why I am doing it.

It is so easy to dismiss this query with an entire eulogy about how beautiful the world is, about the places I'll go, the people I'll meet, the experiences I'll have and even the possibilities for me to make some small difference in this world.  But these are merely reasons why travel is rewarding, none of them are the actual reason why I want to, need to, travel.

It would be equally easy to propose that I am aiming to find happiness, or a purpose in life, or some other personal attainment.  But these are merely side effects of the travelling process, none of them are the reason why I must travel either.   

And then on my trawling through the internet one day, I found a man called Pico Iyer, and his piece entitled "Why we travel".  Go, read it.  It is worth the time.  Better to go and read that piece than finish reading this blog post!

The man, coincidentally writes with a genius like nothing (literally nothing) I have ever read.  You can read more of his fabulous work here

Now this piece is 12 years old, and yes, some of it does perhaps feel slightly dated, and some of it is perhaps so personal to Iyer that it will not be particularly universal.  But the core message resonates clearly through the piece and makes perfect sense to me.

I have long believed that love is the driving force behind those aspects of life which make us human, the things that take us mentally, physically and existentially beyond the constraints of our evolution.  This is not some fluffy naive philosophy, I am referring to love as a driving force for conflict, hate and greed as much as I am to a force behind happiness, selflessness and relationships.  But good or bad, love is ultimately the reason why, or at least the reason for our conscious mind.

So why travel?  Because to travel is to love.  To love in a way which a static life could never fully elicit from me.

As Iyer says...

"And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end."

The Olympics is in town!

Something tells me Sally is not impressed!

It makes an excellent bird swatter!

Today is the start of the 2012 Olympics, this year I am lucky enough to be present in the host country... but unlucky enough not to get any tickets!  So playing about with the torch my Mum carried is probably about as close to the Olympics as I am going to get!

To match the inferno of life

Blogging future

Now that my 24th birthday has been and gone, and it is now approximately 150 days until I am due to leave the UK, the future seems to be rolling in at an alarming and unstoppable rate.

There is lots to be done before the waves hit the shore, not least of which is deciding and implementing my chosen blogging solution for my travels.

My original aim was that this Blogger space would be my learning zone.  Practice for free when it doesn't matter, gain the habit of writing.  Then when it was time to leave, migrate the entire blog over to a Wordpress hosting on my own domain to create something which was more permanent and potentially monetisable.

While I still definitely want to go ahead with my plan to set up another blog to document my travels on, I am unsure whether I want to merge it with this one or create two separate places for me to write.  This blog has been a cathartic experience for me and I don't want to lose the capacity to express the things which are very important to me and yet not directly related to my travels.  But yet I am also not certain whether I necessarily want to express all of these things in a space which is open to all my family, friends and co-workers from my past, present and future have open access to.

Of course, anyone who really wants to could access both if they wanted to, but I am wondering whether maintaining two blogs, one very publically and one without any publicising, would create a more comfortable emotional position for myself...

...But on the other hand, when my life is a whirlwind of travel and adventure, would I have the time to maintain two blogs?  And even if did, should I?   Didn't I say that one of the things I have learnt from my blogging experience is that I should expose more of who I really am in everyday life to achieve a greater congruency in identity


"At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities."
~Jean Houston 

The big answer

Yes it's a dog video

It is.  It's a dog video, and it is 3 minutes long.  Apologies, I genuinely do understand that this is utterly boring to basically everybody.

But for me, she is the love of my life, and I am completely ok with that.  And today is my birthday, so today is Sally-dog video day.  Yay! Happy Birthday me! 

(anyone who is not me is therefore absolved from the responsibility of watching it!)

Alarming trickery

In my last biphasic sleeping update, I talked about how hard I was finding keeping up with my biphasic schedule due to the increased daylight hours of summertime.  Well I am pleased to find that a strategy as simple as putting my alarm on the other side of the room has most certainly helped me get back on track.  I think my hold on my new sleep cycle is still somewhat tenuous, but until I start becoming willing to just lie down on the floor and go back to sleep this tactic seems to be working.

Another more welcome side effect I have noticed is that my body seems to have come to expect a 6 hour total sleep when I have a monophasic night.  I rarely sleep for more than 7 hours and usually bounce awake soon after six hours, regardless of what time I actually went to bed.  This is a world away from how my sleep-greedy spoilt brat of a body used to behave, so I am actually quite pleased with this development.

Nemesis Mondays

Some days at work, not the busy days, or the difficult days, but the monotonous days, I wonder why.  Why I ever thought it was worth it to work this long before I left on my travels...

Now I don't doubt that it is helpful, safer, sensible even to have a financial safety net for any kind of travelling.  Money to fix a broken van, or a broken leg, or to buy a flight home.  Obviously not everyone has this safety net, but personally I feel it is worth saving long enough until you have this.

I also don't doubt that it is also preferable to have enough money that you aren't living hand-to-mouth each day.  Money available so that you never go hungry.  Again, not everyone who travels has this, but for me, this is worth saving for.

But beyond that, where is the line?

If I leave work at the end of the year with £50 000 in my bank account, maybe I can make this last for 6 - 8 years depending on how things go.  I will have bought myself 8 easy years for 4 wasted years of working.  Does that sound like a good deal?  I'm not so sure.

In 8 years time, I will be 31 and (I hope) my travels will be far from over.  I will need to find a new way of providing for myself.

Yes those 8 easy years will be nice, they will be brilliant.  But they will end.  And will they be worth the 4 wasted years?  I'm not so sure.

I think I have may have crossed the line.  Perhaps it is something I should have considered sooner.

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