Home or where I used to stay and work (Singapore) or where I grew up (Malaysia) had a different meaning.
Everyone wants a piece of the story … only a piece
Despite the increasing number of adventurers and acceptance that traveling the world is becoming a norm, it is still a rare sight that a friend / family member goes vagabonding especially when you are from south east asia. It does not happen often thou nowadays it is more easily accepted.
The first difference I notice was the expectation of a wild Indiana Jones story. If you have traveled the world you are expected to come back with a tale or two. Eventually in any meet up or get-together the question will pop up sooner or later.
“Tell us what is the ……( Insert Imagination here )….. most/crazy/memorable/horrible ……… thing that you had come across while traveling ??”
The questions comes in different forms and times. Even after a year being back from my travels I still get them. Even if you don’t speak of your vagabonding adventure sooner or later the question will pop up. It’s a natural conversation filler. However … only a piece at a time … that is what I learned after a while. No matter how exiting my adventure was to myself their attention span could only last a story or two. So I learned not to join one story to another …. Live in asylum that your adventure is your own to cherish and does not need to be advertised.
Work Work Work ….. Somehow it’s not that important …
I used to think that work is an important aspect of ones life. In a way I still do but coming back from a long travel shed a light on the need for work. You will always need to work to sustain oneself but where you choose to work and what you choose to do is entirely up to you.
After backpacking and surviving on bare minimum for so long, material things no longer has the same value. A cheap watch will do the work of an expensive watch. It does not really matter I guess as long as the job gets done. Surviving on bare minimum for a long time helps change the way I look at things. If I can settle for a cheap watch that works fine I won’t have to work twice as hard to buy the expensive ones.
Now I work to save up for the next travel …… the next adventure became my expensive watch ….
Work for your own beliefs … and not others ….
Adjusting to the comfort known as Routine
It’s amazing how much comfort one can get from just knowing where he will sleep tonight and every other night for the next dunnu how many months. If there is anything I don’t miss after coming back from my trip … it’s the routine in simple things. Where to get my food, where to sleep, where to get laundry done and how the transport works
Thou the problem about routine is that time is optimized …. Suddenly time is slowly being packed up again with work with chores, duty and hobbies and things that you wanna try …. Eventually I ended up in the same place again …. Not enough time to do everything. Every once a while I take a pause to remember the time on the road …. Never do we have enough time to see the world ( its huge ) but we learn to accept and focus on the thing that is here and now …. Appreciate Rome when in Rome … do not think of places that you could have visit by cutting short the time in Rome.
Appreciation of anything takes time …
Having a Social Life again ….
This is a big one I guess. Being alone for 6 months means no responsibility …. With the knowledge that the mass majority of the people that you meet will never see you again makes you more true to oneself. I so appreciate the ability to not bother about taking care of another person’s dignity or as we call it here in Singapore/Malaysia Face/Muka/. The Asian community is very vain in nature and offending someone within a circle will definitely come back to haunt you unless you are immune in some way.
While I do slowly integrate back into the culture of Social manners …. I also reduce my level of tolerance to accept peoples shit …. Life is too short to please everyone …
That said what I missed the most while traveling was companion of good friends who never judges and are able to share a part of your history …. Hence the easiest part of being home is having friends that you already know and don’t need to introduce yourself over and over again.
When that Travel Itch Starts again
One day Some Day … it will come ….
To those who have done a long term travel beware this is a disease that is incurable an insatiable. For those who have tasted it …. It can never be forgotten …. Even short term travel have the same effect, a 3 days holiday today and after sometimes the crave for another holiday will follow. Long term travel is no different just a little harder to fulfill financially.
For me it had come pretty soon. Maybe because it took me nearly a year to write the full cycle of the 6 month travel in a year …. (I am not that focus … tend to forget to write) … but even as I am typing the final entry of my six months travel I am already planning another sabbatical.
To infinity and beyond
Application for sabbatical to my company has been done and route charting is already in progress …. So I guess this blog is going to be well fed for another couple of years with my stories.
Hope to those who have been following has enjoyed this humble Malaysian Backpacker … An Asian perspective on Long Term Travel