Do you dream of long term travel? Of taking off for a month, or three, or even a year? Of taking not just a vacation or a trip but really travelling?
Some people call this ‘slow travel’. Not just seeing the sights but moving at a leisurely pace through a country, using public transport, and taking time to observe ways of life that may appear very different from your own.
Slow travel allows you to get to know a country or five but it is also a journey of self-discovery. Leaving behind the cubicle, the housework, and the routines of everyday life is immensely freeing.
The further you get from your normal life the more you will learn about that life. About how people all over the world have the same hopes and dreams as you do; about how you need so little in the way of possessions to be happy.
I have embarked on slow travel dreams a number of times now over the past 15 years and while I highly recommend this style of travel there are frustrations and low points to be dealt with along the way.
There are times when you feel hot and tired and really ‘over’ the basic bathroom facilities of developing countries. If you are travelling with a partner it’s almost guaranteed your sex life will go into hiatus.
But the joys, of both the infinitesimal and the waving your arms in the air variety, that make it all worthwhile.
Like watching the unique landscape of Australia unfold through the window of a train. Like watching a trio of young boys in Cambodia march along like soldiers carrying sticks (that made my heart ache). Like people dragging me over to appear in their family photo in Nepal.
Like being invited into the farmhouse of an old women in rural China. Like the taste of my first cup of chai on any day in India. Like having a proper shower after going without for days or weeks. Like a sense of the world outside my door becoming real to me.
There is no doubt that nearing the end of all my periods of long term travel I have started to look forward to home. To having my own bed and fridge and bathroom. Even to having a job!
But within weeks or months of returning home I have started to dream of my next travel adventures. Those joys are just so addictive and that’s why I dream of just selling up everything and going on the road (one day I might just do it).
Keep dreaming of travel!
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