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Running Away from Reality- or Not!

At 21, I left to go study in Europe for 7 months. At 22, I left once again to go study in Mexico for 5 months. At 23, I went backpacking for one month in Thailand and Vietnam. At 24, I backpacked through Argentina. And now, I’m leaving to go backpacking in Brazil. In between all of this, I’ve been on countless road trips, anywhere from NYC to Florida, to California, to Boston, to Chicago, to Indianapolis, to the Canadian Maritimes, to Toronto, to camping in the woods and to hiking in the Adirondacks. And the truth of the matter is, I’m always thinking about where to go next.

Most people, either 1. think I’m crazy- which I’ve grown accustomed to or 2. think that I try to run away from it all every time I mention the words “travel” or “backpacking”. I can deal with being crazy because being normal is definitely overrated. But running away from reality?

I would describe myself as one crazy person who loves to travel! But does having a passion to travel mean that I’m trying to escape my life at home? NO! It simply allows me to get away from typical (and normal) cycle of Western life- school, work, marriage, house, debt, kids, retirement. And to this, let’s add that every step of the cycle needs to be accomplished by a certain age- otherwise, there is definetely something wrong with you! So instead of having people talk about me because I don’t exactly want to fit in the cycle of life established by society right now, I decide to backpack and have people talk about that instead. I’ve heard it all…You should stop traveling and stay home so you can settle down”, “You’re crazy to want to travel to these places”, “It’s dangerous”, “Why would you want to travel alone?”, Why would you prefer to sleep in a hostel instead of a hotel?”, “How can you consider going to the Amazon a vacation?”, and the list goes on and on and on and on!

Backpacking allows me to completely disconnect from all of this. It allows me to do things that are abnormal to most people living in the West: venture off into the unknown and learn about a completely different culture, eat weird food, talk to stangers, sleep in random places, wander off in potential dangerous places and do adventurous activities!

Let’s face it, we all have our different way of escaping reality: some disconnect by listening to music, or watching tv, or playing xbox, or reading, or being a workaholic, or shopaholic or even an alcoholic. So I guess I’d be considered a travelholic. So the next question you should ask me is not “Are you traveling this year?”,but should be “Where are you traveling this year?”. It’s simply a question of time.

So no- I don’t consider myself as someone wanting to escape my life at home- I just always have a craving to learn something new and be out of my element. As we live in a world that has so much to offer, how can we choose to settle and follow the normal course of life before going out there and exploring the world?

This article was inspired by Nomadic Matt’s article Everyone Says I’m runing Away

About The Author

Tanya is an adventurous person who most enjoys the cultural aspect of traveling. She traveled to North, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Europe. When she's not hiking mountains, she spends her time visiting local schools or families. It's a nice break from the 9-5 corporate life.

Number of Entries : 243

Comments (6)

  • Linh

    You go girl! I’m behind you all the way!

  • Jess

    “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
    — Saint Augustine

  • Lorenza

    I totally understand, agree and support! I have been doing what you are doing for the past ten years in the summer with two children in tow. Oh the “dangerous places” the “hostels” and “those foreigners..”. Truth is: I have never been happier, safer, healthier, more connected with reality and yes, like you when I am traveling I always think of where to go next. Happy traveling.

  • Asia

    Great stuff Tanya. But I have a question, how are you able to afford going to some of these places? Have you been able to automate your income or do you have to get a job every time you come back?
    My friend and I are going to travel around Central America in 2012. Only reason we’re not doing it now is because we have to work to save up some money before we go…



    • Tanya

      Hi Asia, unfortunately, I’m not rich! But I’m really good at prioritizing and saving. With the cost of life getting more expensive by the minute, it’s important for you to prioritize where you want to spend your money. To travel, we need money so what means we need to cut the spending elsewhere. What helps me a lot is having a destination in mind and then figuring out how much money I need and how much money I need to save on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, etc). It’s more motivating that way and its easier to save when you have a goal in mind. But yes, I completely understand you. I’m also working and trying to save money for my next trip! I have a career now so it’s actually better. But as a student, I would travel really cheaply. I would always stay in hostels and buy food at the grocery store for lunch (avoid paying two meals in a resto). Now, I still stay in hostels but I treat myself a little more. I hope you plan to visit Mexico in 2012! Good luck.


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