So here we are, ½ way through my journey. Well, I guess that depends on which journey we’re talking about. If we look at the bigger picture, I hit my half-way point back in August or September. But if we’re only talking about the 4-month backpacking trip I’m currently on, then here I am – half way done.
So, how does it feel to be half way through my trip? Well it’s a bit surreal. It seems like it has gone by so quickly, but if I think about all of the places we’ve been and things we’ve done… then I realize how much there is yet to come. 2 more countries, 2 more months.
And what have I learned so far? Over the last year I’ve learned that you have to live your life for yourself and only yourself. That’s not to say that you need to live selfishly, it just means that you are the only judge that matters in your own life. No matter what you do or where you go or what you accomplish, someone will always be better than you or have done something you didn’t or couldn’t. If I go to 80 countries in my life, there will always be people who’ve gone to 81 or more. If I make $1,000,000 there will always be people making more. But if I make $1,000,000 and go to 81 countries and I’m not happy, then what’s the point?
Ever since I started going abroad, I’ve always felt a need to compare myself with other people who’ve traveled – and it always leaves me feeling unsatisfied or inferior. But I have realized that everyone is just following their own path and that doesn’t make their path better or worse than the path that I’m on. Life is not a competition. Whether you live your whole life in the town you grew up in, spend life as a nomad, or do something in between, we can’t judge ourselves by comparing our lives with other people’s. No one is better or worse, we’re just different.
I still find myself getting jealous when we bump into someone whose doing 7 or 9 months of travelling – compared to our 4, but it just doesn’t matter what other people are doing. It just doesn’t. What matters is that I’m happy doing what I’m doing. And I am. I’m so happy.
At this point I thought that I would be sad that I’m ½ way through… I’m going home soon! But I’m not sad at all. I’m excited. I have no idea what I’m going to do when I get back to the States. In some ways, my future after returning to the US is more uncertain than the next two months of travelling. And I’m excited for that next challenge... wherever it might take me. (Unemployment maybe??)
When I left for my big trip abroad, I was hoping for an epiphany. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and I hoped that while I was out of the country lightening would strike and I would find my place in the world. But of course, that didn’t happen. I’m no closer to knowing what I want to do than I was when I left. But I’m ok with that. If I just keep doing what I think is best for myself, I will eventually find my way. What do they say? Luck is when opportunity meets with preparedness (or something like that.) Well as long as I’m working toward a better me, then I’m not worried about the future.
What else have I learned? Well there’s a HUGE difference between travelling through a place and living in a place. I’m not sure what I was expecting when we left Taiwan and started on this backpacking trip, but for the first three weeks or so, I found myself somewhat unsettled. We were seeing all these awesome places and doing awesome things, but it was never enough for me. I felt like we should be having some deep spiritual experience or really interacting with these new cultures in a way that just isn’t possible when you’re in any given place for only a couple of days.
Backpacking is basically just being a “budget tourist.” Plain and simple. Sure we’re having awesome experiences and we’re learning a lot about the world, but just because I have a backpack on my back doesn’t mean that I’ll spend the next 4 months making deep connections with “locals,” having spiritual revelations and personal epiphanies. And who has the energy for that anyway!