Sometimes I don't know why I travel. I am neither an adventurer or an explorer. I am more of a wonderer than a wanderer, more of a thinker than a doer. Whether that is more a natural state or a learned one, I don't particularly know. Likely the latter stemmed from the former, but I guess at this point it doesn't particularly matter. What matters, for the sake of this blog, is this: I am about to depart on an extended trip throughout the world. I will be leaving my job and my country to relocate to Sweden with my partner. From there we will be venturing out to the so-called 'Far East' where we will once again begin a wandering adventure.
The response I get from everyone when I tell them this is one of genuine amazement, full of well-wishing and an underlying desire to do the same. Everyone over 40 has followed with the do it while you're young standard that most travellers have heard at one point or another. At 28, while I am not really old I don't really consider myself that young, either. Stuck in this in-between, maybe it makes sense that I am the only one asking 'why'. Why go on such a trip? What is the point?
Of course, I know of answers. There are a slew of them common to the backpacker breed- adventure, to see the world, to experience new cultures, to party, to meet new people in new places…and I guess many of these apply to me, to an extent. But I am also content not doing those things. I am content working my jobs, living in my small city, and living a relatively unexciting life. I'm honestly ok with that.
I have realized time and time again that we learn the most about ourselves when challenged. We come to understand who we are on a much deeper level when, outside of our comfort zones, we are presented with obstacles. How we fare is often a testament to our faculties as a human being; we discover things about ourselves we may have never known, or perhaps just things we have forgotten. Sometimes the results are not what we had hoped or expected, but they are honest results. I think few things are more valuable than such honesty.
Now, of course there are challenges to be had at home- between work, family, and making ends meet we all have our own obstacles to stumble over. I just find that all of these occur in a framework that I am fortunate enough to be comfortable with. I become contented too easily, and miss out on a lot of opportunities to challenge myself.
So maybe that's my answer to the looming question of why. When I can find the time step away from my regular and contented western lifestyle I can see the answer clearly: that the world is such a vast and wonderful place that to not partake in its chaos would be to miss out on the very flavour of what it means to be alive. I think the fundamental art to being human flows from a reservoir of feeling so deep and scattered that it is far too easily overlooked and its fragile beauty ignored when we get caught up in the mundane and forget how wickedly enchanting being alive can be.
So I guess that is why I wander around the world. As it stands, I can think of no better way of shattering the confines of my own perceptions to get in touch with something greater.
AND, on top of that I'm moving to Sweden to be with the person I love. She loves to adventure and travel and be exciting. I love her for those qualities because they are qualities I admire, myself having a distinct lack of them. You could say she is the kindling behind this adventure of ours, and from its fires I hope we can shed some light upon ourselves and see just what trials the world will lay upon our laps.