The traveller’s life is an addictive one. Once you’re on to it, chances are you’ll have a hard time adapting to anything else. The thrill of not knowing what will happen next. The excitement of getting out of impossible situations. The cool people you meet along the way. All that, while hoping your own brand of Shangri-la is just around the corner. That place that is so magnificent that you’ll never want to leave. And then you breathe it out, and go do some more travelling.
This whole life thing really takes on distinctively sisyphean features as you trot on… Once the excitement about rice fields and motorbikes, cool coffee shops in Shoreditch or African sunsets has come and gone you’re left to deal with a simple fact. It’s pretty much all the same. The whole culture shock thing, whether you’re high on the new, feel rabid hatred for everything different or you’re missing a whole bunch of things you didn’t even like that much before, goes away after a few months. Trust me on that one!
So yeah, the only Zen you find on the top of the mountain (or South East Asia) really is the one you bring with you. As grandma ruthlessly throws it out there, girl what are you doing among strangers? How and why did you let it happen that all of your favourite people are thousands of miles away in all directions?
It hit me about three months into my stay here, and chewing on these thoughts like a puppy on my favourite shoes, it finally dawned on me! It’s time for a holiday!
I’m not sold on the whole land of the smiles thing (though kudos for amazing marketing), but they sure got it right on the picture perfect beaches. Crystal clear sea in all the shades blue can imagine and limestone cliffs looming over, going like hey, do you wanna hang 20 metres in the air? Mix it up with the hippiest crowd and taverns that feel like Jack Sparrow’s gonna pop in any second and voila. My idea of a dream get away. Btw, this place actually exists. Look up Tonsai beach!
Quitting your job and going on a soul searching quest around Asia looks pretty ordinary standing on this side of the world. You somehow feel less unique, mad or courageous to have quit the rat race, once you find yourself surrounded by guys who are in the same process of figuring it out. It what? That’s left to long hours of shared speculation. The sort that brings fellow travellers and lots of Chang bottles together.
We share a common sense of dissatisfaction and confusion. Maybe the ‘Where is my lawn with flowers and a unicorn?’‘ has something to do with it. But there is also a sense of being cheated. Cheated onto the 9 to 5 treadmill. That, and an unfounded belief that the answers can be found among mushroom shakes and fried rice under a coconut tree. Our grandparents would settle the whole thing with a bottle of palinca in the rundown tavern down the road with their mates. But we are the children of globalisation. So we go looking for new mates on exotic beaches halfway across the globe. And drink with them. I can easily imagine someday my grandkids chilling on Mars, with their new cylon friends, having a go at the same play.
It’s a modern malady. The so called wanderlust. Chronic boredom. Or as I see it, itchy feet. Something that just makes me give that boulder another shot. But at least I get to choose a different slope every time. Whatever it is, it’s gone mainstream among the gypsy generation.
So beware people! And totally give me a call, bring me some blue cheese and some Malbec if you’re hit hard and heading to Thailand.