This brought some sort of vindication, for my part. I don’t know why, so for the last hour, I decided to gather my thoughts and write it down.
First I asked myself, do I want to be a long-term traveler like them? I guess, after giving it a lot of serious thought, my answer is no. As much as I want to see the world, as much as I want to visit 100 countries before I die (I still am at 23), I also want to do other things. I enjoy doing what I am doing right now. And I realized that I still value the importance of a routine. I love the thought of having my own bed I can sleep in. I love the luxury of not having to share a toilet with others. I love the fact that there are parts of my life that are still predictable. As much as I enjoyed traveling in Guatemala earlier this year, to the point that I wished I pushed through and crossed the border to El Salvador and continued on, I am still glad that I returned to Buffalo, finished my doctorate, and pushed through life in a different way.
So, why the vindication then?
It’s because whenever I read the travel articles of these long-term bloggers, or even when I meet them on the road when I am traveling myself, I do not have a surplus when it comes to hearing about how awesome their life is. There are plenty of articles out there saying how awesome it is to be living for 3 months in Country X then move to Country Y and live three months there again. There are plenty of articles telling you how to do a visa run so that one can extend one’s stay in Country Z. And overall, it’s this elitist attitude that I don’t get.
So why am I still reading these articles then? Well, I do have a few travel blogs in my RSS feed. And I filter them. I only have them there because sometimes they do write about good things to see in a destination, and that gives me travel ideas. But I don’t need no preaching when it comes to how to quit my 9-to-5 job and travel the world for years at a time.
Perhaps that’s the reason why my blog isn’t a full-time travel blog either. It’s a melange of things. It started as a blog intended to document my activities during graduate school, as a way for my family and friends to read about my life in the convenience of their own home, avoiding the hassles of time zone differences. Then it slowly evolved into something that is part-travel blog, part-diary, part-philosophical and political and anti-religious ranting platform. As I moved to Berlin recently, part of it became a place where I wrote about my experiences about moving here.
So, is long-term travel unsustainable? In the travel blogger’s definition, yes. They have lived 3 months here and 3 months there for years, but most eventually settle down somewhere. But if you adjust your lens a little bit, what if you live say 5 years here and 7 years there, with smaller trips sandwiched in between, is that still traveling? That is how I have done it. I grew up being a diplomat’s child. Living in one place for 5 years and then moving on sounds like a perfectly normal thing for me. Is that long-term travel, but with a different granularity? Maybe, maybe not. But so far, I am able to sustain it. Right now I am living in Berlin, I don’t know for how long. But right now, this is home for me. The good thing with this pattern is that one gets to do more while one is rooted in one place. In my case, I picked up my MA and PhD while I was in Buffalo for 7 years.
So yes, this was a rant against the travel blog. Feel free to flame. I don’t care, I have a very small reading audience anyway. I’ve kept the commercialism in this blog to a minimum, so I won’t suffer if my readership dips a little. I don’t depend on revenues from this blog. For me, being able to write my thoughts down and “upload” it somewhere is satisfying already, whether there are people out there who will read it or not.