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 http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/everyone-say-im-running-away/