Image courtesy of Flickr/erinbarker
Today marks one week before we leave the prairies and take what is our first of many flights in the next little while. I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on the summer and feeling a little sad and nostalgic for all things I am leaving behind. All in all, I had a great summer. In the end, what amounted to very little emotional sacrifice, resulted in huge gain for M and I. If we hadn’t come here, we couldn’t have saved the money for our trip, and for that I am truly grateful.
I have faced criticism from friends and family over the past while about our choices and our “unconventional” lifestyle and I have been struggling with ways to meet this criticism with open heart and compassion. It hasn’t been easy and oftentimes resentment wells up in me when I think of things certain people have said to me, when I know I haven’t ever verbalised my criticisms of their life, to them-ever.
“Why are you doing this?” “What’s the appeal?” “Aren’t you nervous?” “Sounds like a lot of work.”
But in the end, I have to remember that these people are motivated out of concern for me, and by their own exposure and experience and I have to understand that many people are not going to be able to relate to me and the things I choose to do with my life. Perhaps my choices are sometimes dangerous and foolhardy to some, but if we are all meeting the inevitable death on the horizon, why not meet it doing what we love all the while, instead of attempting to escape it by standing still, hoping It won’t notice us. I’m not suggesting that’s what the people around me are trying to do, or that my choices are any more noble or better than anyone else’s. We all need to live our own life and not through the filter of someone else’s experience.
“Travelling” is not the same as taking a vacation. There are more challenges, risks, illnesses, inconveniences and problems. Particularly when you travel on a tight budget, things aren’t always comfortable and it takes being able to step back sometimes, to realize why you are doing what you are doing and that you are going to be okay. My goal on this trip is to be more open to these challenges, resist less and to be able to “step back” for perspective more easily than I did last time. I remember losing my patience many ‘o time-trains not running on time, parasites, bedbugs, ripoffs, scams. But the rewards are there, and for me, they far outweigh the inconveniences.
We spend four nights in Vancouver, visiting friends and our old haunts and then it’s off to Seoul, Korea. We are looking forward to visiting with a friend we met in Berlin, who later came to hang out with us when we were living in Prague. That was 2007/2008, which feels like a long time ago now. Our next adventure awaits and I am nervous, but ready!
In related news, I crumbled and bought a new backpack, same brand as M just got. Huge expense but with a lifetime warrantee, it just makes sense. My last backpack was purchased over twelve years ago for a trip by train across Canada. A backpack I just grabbed off the shelf, I had no idea that they were meant to be fitted for you, based on your height and specific travel needs. This one feels SOO much more comfortable, has an attached day pack and is (gasp!) smaller than my old one. Time to downsize that toiletry bag!!