One of the best thing about this trip so far is how much I’ve learned about myself. There’s various similar articles out there by travel bloggers and writers about how travel changes you and such, but these probably aren't going to go as deep and meaningful as that. Not for the whole post anyway. But I hope to do more of these as time goes on and hopefully my trips do as well.
1. Fear is still my biggest enemy
Fear is still one of the big reasons why people don't travel long-term. The idea of uprooting their lives, quitting their jobs and making such a big change is very scary. Taking a small leap of faith in travelling four months is still scary for me. I'm fearful of going home and trying to sort out my career situation and worrying about when I'll get the chance to travel long-term again. I’ve overcome some of my fears by getting here, but I still have to work on figuring out how to get over the fear of returning home again.
2. I shouldn’t have taken so much useless stuff
My pack has been my constant companion. Unfortunately I don't really enjoy it being my constant travelling friend due to the fact I can barely manage the weight. Traversing around airports/trains and small staircases in hostels is difficult when you can't even manage to lift your pack up properly. I've had to get rid of so many things that I just didn’t need. I know the golden rule is only take half of what you think you’ll need, but I think I should employ the ‘only take a third of it’. I thought I had minimised my belongings a lot before I left home. I was mistaken.
Sure the RTW trip going between different countries quite quickly sounds great now. But how many clothes do you have to bring for the different climates? It makes packing frustrating, or expensive if you buy stuff on the road to adapt to the changing weather. I’m hopping between climates and I’ve carried all my summer clothes with me while all I’ve needed for the past two months is thermals galore. So I should have really considered that before I got on the plane or before I thought going between the different countries with completely different climates was a good idea with my pack.
4. I should have taken some useful stuff
A sewing kit would have helped when I ripped a hole in my jacket pocket and ripped the button off my gloves when I was putting my really heavy pack on (another issue with heavy packs - they tend to break anything fragile). Scissors would have helped in cutting a cable tie off my bag I had tied too tightly at 11pm in the dorm room when I really wanted my toothbrush. Tape might have been useful to cover up a hole in my favourite lip balm tube from home. Slippers would have helped my socks not get dirty from walking on dorm room floors. However in Japan nearly all dorms provide them which is great! Of course I can easily get all these things. But were they there when I needed them? No. Bringing them with me beforehand might have been useful.
5. I actually am not that strange and have met many different people
I wasn’t going to wait until it was the right time for someone else to to travel with me to Asia, so I had to go it alone. Fortunately there are so many others who do the same and you can meet them! In hostels, on public transport, on day tours... Also travelling alone means sometimes the locals will ask if you need help and offer their advice. It opens up a whole new view of a country when you’re on your own that you don’t get when you’re with your friends. I am also travelling with some of my friends during this trip, but the parts I've had alone are the ones where I've truly had to put myself out there, actually figure things out for yourself and make conversations. You’ll never know who you’ll end up speaking too.
What’s some lessons you’ve learned after being on the road for a while? I really thought I had learned about the taking less stuff concept throughout my previous travels, but clearly I was mistaken.
~ Olivia (WM)