My So-Called 2-Suitcase LifeThursday, October 14, 2010
2 years, 3 continents, 4 countries and 5 moves later, I’m still feeling tempted and unconsummated.
After I was bit by the travel bug in 2008, I was never the same. It started with the unscratchable itch to live in a different country. So I quit my job in Manila and worked in New York for a year. Then I moved to Germany and eventually to Switzerland for love. Europe told me I couldn’t overstay my welcome. So I had to give it all up and go back to the Philippines eventually.
That’s when I slowly accepted my fate, got my old job back and took on the responsibilities of a normal 20 something adult. When I came back, everything about home was the same. It was I, who was completely changed. Try as I might, I can’t seem to stop myself from booking a plane ticket I could hardly afford and hopping on the next plane headed to ‘anywhere but here’. (Ask Reannon, she knows.)
Call it non-conformity. Call it escaping adulthood. Call it nomadic, barbaric even.
I’m calling it my 2-suitcase life.
What I love about it:
Minimalist living. If you can pack your entire life in less than an hour and fit it all into 2 suitcases then you know you have only the essentials. People can truly live on so little. I’m not making a huge spectacle of owning less than most people. But if you’ve moved as many times as I have in the last 2 years, you’ll end up an accidental minimalist too. When I want something, my main consideration is ‘Can I bring it with me on the next move?’ So I've learned to value experiences more than possessions.
Unattached to things. The only things I considered ‘valuables ‘ were my passport, my camera 'Gabe' and my hard drive with over 3 years worth of photos. I already lost the hard drive. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to deal with. I cried. But like most trips, I got over it and moved on.
Live curious. Everything is so fascinating! I can’t help but photograph and relish every single meal. (And no, it’s not just because I’m Asian!) I check out the local MacDonald’s in whichever country I’m in to know what different offerings they have. And I don’t even like MacDonald's!
Be fully aware. Travel allows me to focus on the HERE and the NOW which I hardly do when I’m back home. I don't zone out even when I’m just going for a walk. I have to experience everything. That also means ignoring my fears while traveling.
See the world differently. After I’ve seen a teeny weeny bit of the world, I find it more difficult to make judgments based on race, culture and ethnicity. To single out a group of people. put them in boxes and compare their culture to mine would be hasty generalization. I don’t travel just to look for the familiar comforts of home. I travel to search for anomaly in this increasingly homogeneous world.
What I hate:
Rolling stone gathers no moss. I try to learn everything, only to unlearn it and start from scratch. My facebook page tells me I have hundreds of friends scattered all over the world. But I keep in touch with only a few.
Everything is measured in terms of the next destination: ‘Sure, I can get this pair of shoes, but for this price I could go on a 2 week trip to Laos!’ All my hard earned savings go to the ‘travel fund’.
The compulsive urge to check out those budget airline fares. ‘They have promo flights to Australia in 6 months! But I’ll be in Cambodia by then, dammit!’
Strained relationships. For someone who hates goodbyes, I say it often. The hard part is when I meet people on the road that I genuinely share a connection with. We travel for some time and enjoy each other’s company until we have to part. Constantly moving from one continent to the next pretty much kills the chances of continuing relationships and establishing a career. But I agree with Chris Guillebeau when he said: 'If you really want to head off in pursuit of a big dream, something's gotta give.' (read full article here)
Coming back. There are people who bawl their eyes out in airports. I’m one of them. But not because I have to leave. It’s the coming back that sucks.
Are you living a 2 suitcase life? Would you like to? What do you love and hate about it? Let the Sole Sisters know what you think.