Along with self-knowledge the road has given me innumerable gifts of experience, from the mundane to the once-in-a-lifetime, from tragedy to triumph, and every point in between. It’s one thing to learn from these experiences, however. It’s another to learn what I’ve learned.
The typical cliché used to describe people like me who go traveling for extended periods of time is to say that, “He is finding himself.” Setting aside the belittling way that expression is generally used – as if the instinct for self-discovery is to be mocked rather than celebrated – after almost 17 months on the road I’ve found the common idea of “finding oneself” to be totally inaccurate.
In March, I visited the movie-set-turned-tourist-attraction of Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand. This was the actual location used for the filming of the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” trilogies.
Just over one year ago, on March 21, 2016, I began this journey. It’s difficult for me to wrap my head around the concept that it’s only been that long.
They say we never forget our first time, and in my experience that maxim applies to more than just its colloquial uses for drugs and sex. For me at least, it applies to travel, as well.
Here in Part 3 of my “How I Pack Series”, I’ll illustrate how my choice of backpacks and gear combine on the daily to make me compact, prepared, and most of all, organized.
In mid-December I opened my email and discovered a surprise: a playlist, automatically curated by Spotify, that included the 101 top songs I had listened to for the year. Curious about what might be on it, I clicked the link, and scrolled.
In Part 1 of this series, “How I Pack”, I discussed my overall philosophy behind packing my bag for long-term travel. Here in Part 2 I’ll cover specifics of what I’ve chosen to put in my pack, how much, and why. Please bear with me, as this post will be somewhat long, with photos.
I understand this now not just as a trip, a finite thing with defined boundaries and clear lines. This is the beginning of a time in my life, a phase, a place, an era.
I have discovered there is another side to solo long-term traveling that many blogs don’t cover. I call these issues “The Dark Side of Long Term Travel.”