14 months of being a bum (a.k.a backpacker)

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DCIM102GOPRO

14 months I am on the road, all alone by myself. I laughed, cried and learned. I grew, understood, accepted and thanked. And now it’s time to move on, towards an old place. The end of this experience is the beginning of another: HOME. *Mixed feelings

For the past 14 months I had slept in more than 100 beds…couches, mattresses, floors,buses, boats, planes. Eaten at more than 500 tables. Have travelled by means of plane, bus, jeep, car, bicycle, horse, tuk-tuk, minivan, boat, ferry, train, metro, own two feet, big bus, small bus, fancy bus, 100-years-old bus, motorcycle, lifts.

Out of the 14 months, I am guest for 10.

I spent three months as an intern for a wedding planner at San Francisco, volunteer in Guatemala for 1 month and then spent another month exploring the ancient towns in China.

I stopped being a tourist fairly early, and instead became a traveler (the main distinction, as I see it, is that the first know where they are going but not where they are, while the latter do not know where they are going but know exactly where they are). This is who I am now and will be always. For now though, a big chapter is about to end, and another one about to begin. There is uncertainty all around, but one thing I know for sure: I am so grateful for the experience and support I have been offered for the past 14 months, and for all the incredible people I have in my lives, regardless of distance and place. Thank you!!

Hellagood-2

So… am I afraid of going home?

The word is “scared shitless”!

My initial travel plans was 6 months of South America, because experiencing the latin culture was something I had to “get out of my system” before “settling down”. I left home on the 18th Oct 2012. Now, fourteen months later, I am aware that traveling, exploring and learning are some things that will never “get out of my system”. That it is not a hobby, not a dream, not something on my bucket list. It is instead who I am. It is a part of me, just as I am part of the same world I am dying to explore. Getting to know it helps me know myself more, and getting to understand myself more helps me understand the world more. A mutual relationship that I found really works (for me).

Do I know what’s waiting for me once I get home? Not a clue. Well, that’s not entirely true, some things I can already see in my mind: waves of extended family members, smiling ear to ear “you’re finally home, we’ve been waiting for you since…” (the truth is probably since the day after I left). Lots of friends, old and not so old, some I will easily reconnect with, some I will never quite be on the same “wave length” with again. People with lots of opinions about my experience, about what I should be doing next, about my life. MY life, that is.

Probably that’s what will happen. Definitely. Maybe.

Scared shitless I said… so what am I afraid of?

  • That I won’t be able to reconnect with my old friends. That we’ve all grown a lot in the past years, and we’ve grown at different speeds and in different directions.
  • That I won’t be able to easily find new friends who share my view of the world and life, people who live their lives with same principles and outlook as I.
  • That my family members (grandmothers and aunts being the champions at this) will continue not to understand why I can’t just be a “normal child” and live my life the way I “should” live it: settling down in my own house, getting a “stable” job (little do they know that “stable job” is pretty much an oxymoron these days), finding a wife, that they’d approve of, then having a couple of kids because “I want to see my grandchildren before I go”.
  • That people will judge me, look down on me or up to me, not understand where I’m coming from, where I’ve been and where I’m headed
  • That the ladies at my favorite cafes will not even remember me, let alone recognize me.
  • That it will not be easy to find the support I need for what I wish to accomplish next
  • That people will think I’m a freak and will throw rotten eggs at my window.
  • That, as my mom says, “all the good girls are slowly taken”.
  • That I will function on Latin American time. “Oh, the show starts at 7? Ok, shall be there by 9”
  • That I’ll start bargaining with taxi drivers
  • That I will look for lunch by the road side… and upon not finding it, shout at the top of my lungs in desperation “Where are all the tacos stands????”

Hellagood-4

 So… is that going to keep me from going home?

Not a chance! I’ve never known it more strongly in my bones. This is it, and the time is now:).

What am I most excited about?

  • A room/kitchen/bathroom/place to call my own
  • Gardening in my own backyard!!
  • My alcohol collection
  • Having a closet!! A c…l…o…s…e…t…
  • Mum’s foooooood
  • High-speed internet.. OooooO
  • My grandma’s dumping with red bean paste
  • Red packets on Chinese New Year.. Money money money..
  • Swimming on a hot day..
  • A shower that is sure to supply me with hot water until the end
  • Getting shouedt at by Grandma that my room is dirty
  • Singapore fooooddddd.. Laska, Chili crabs, dim sum..
  • Endless laughing nights with those close at heart

Conclusions after these 10 months?

Only one – life really is how you make it.

So be it! Viva la vida!

Gracias a todos, love you always!!
Hellagood-3

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4 thoughts on “14 months of being a bum (a.k.a backpacker)

  1. Ben Noblet

    Wow Brian, I can see exactly where you are coming from and feel the same. We’re almost 12 months in and 2 months to go and will soon be in your position. You totally hit the nail on the head.

    We head to Mexico tomorrow and have eagerly pored over your blog and list, looking for travellers destinations not tourist haunts. Of course there is some crossover, but we are excited!

    Hope we get to meet up again sometime.

    Reply
  2. Tari

    Welcome home Bryan, your friends haven’t forgotten you. We always try to guess were your travelling takes you when we mention you in our conversation.

    There’s one thing you told me I haven’t forgotten: “Tarik, you can be a tourist in your own country”. I haven’t forgotten it: it’s not the location, it’s not the plane ticket or the camera, it’s about the attitude.

    Stay hungry, inquisitive-minded and curious. That’s the reason we love.

    Yours,
    T.

    Reply
  3. Kate Small

    I am so happy to have been a little part of your journey. It was a pleasure getting to know you, and you will be sorely missed. As always, beautiful photos. Hope to meet you again some day.

    Reply
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