Let’s set the record straight, as someone who loves travel one of my biggest bug bares is when someone tells me how lucky I am to travel.
Lucky, lucky, well sit your bum down right now and let me tell you about luck and lucky. There are numerous definitions of luck and lucky and not one of them include organising, planning, budgeting and saving.
According to the Oxford Dictionary the definition of luck is; “Success or failure brought on by chance rather than one’s own actions.”
Collins Dictionary defines luck as “Luck or good luck is success or good things that happen to you, that do not come from your own abilities or effort”.
“The definition of lucky is someone who has good fortune, an event that brings good fortune or results in good fortune all by chance. One would describe a person who wins the lottery as lucky for example”(Collins Dictionary 2018).
Luck and lucky are terms that apply only when something is out of your control, I would not for example say “oh aren’t you lucky to be having a house extension” knowing full well that you’ve made sacrifices in order to get the house extended, the same courtesy goes to me with travel. I lived at times like an unsocial hermit, saying no to social events because I am calculating and re-calculating how I could save more money.
Now before you think you’ve pressed the wrong button and fallen into an academic blog I’ll stop with the quotation marks and sentences that include terms like “according to” and hope you get my drift, I shall also step off my soapbox and explain that it took hard work and time to get me on the other side of the planet.
It took almost two years of saving up, no buying new clothes, no hair appointments, buying nothing that wasn’t considered as essential as it wasn’t justifiable. I sold my car and unwanted items like jewellery, pictures, books, clothes and I have little belongings to go home to. Do I regret that not one bit, am I nervous about going home starting from scratch? Absolutely not. The most interesting finding from this experience is in fact I am less anxious, I get less tied up making decisions on what to wear because really who actually cares what I wear? No one certainly not my family or friends. I now pay zero attention to society telling me I need this particular product to make me happy. I am less wrapped up in myself, I have clarity on what actually matters and what is good for my wellbeing.
Before my time out, music was just another part of my routine, the background noise of my day-to-day life. Whilst travelling I met a girl called Elke, Elke asked me if I missed TV and it dawned on me that at that time I had not watched any for five months however there had not been a day without music. Confucius once said that “Music produces a kind of pleasure that human nature cannot do without.” I whole-heartily agree with the Chinese philosopher. Music gives my life value and I had lost sight of that and through travel I rediscovered that joy again.
Routine is a structure, it’s all about efficiency, going from one tasks to another, getting the must do tasks out-of-the-way so we can enjoy our free time but sometimes that must do attitude rubs off on the things that bring us joy, happiness and in the end finds its way into our wellbeing. It’s easy to lose sight of what is important to you when consumed by the day-to-day motion that is life, I am under no illusion that at some point I will go back to routine but I am hoping to keep this lesson with me whilst taking up routine again.
On the road your priorities go back to basics, where am I going to sleep for the next few nights? What and where shall I eat tonight? They are my immediate concerns. I now know that as a person I am sensitive to my environment, uncomplicated living suits me, living within my means with minimal belongings allows me space to think, reduces my anxiety in turn making me feel good. Liam (a friend that I made on the road) and I had a discussion about Mental wellbeing and the use of labels, during our chat he introduced me to a term that I had never heard before “visual noise” within that moment a light bulb went on “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m trying to say,” was my response. I am a person who gets overwhelmed by stuff, it’s like putting your headphones on and pressing play without realising the volume is on maximum. That’s how I feel when I have too many belongings. Possessions are a physical and mental burden, the backpack life is a perfect description of how possession are a heavy weight on my wellbeing, the lugging around of one’s belonging, pulling on your back while trying to find your accommodation, soon has you practicing minimalism. I know there is a lot of criticism of labels but I was relieved that it had a name instead of me think that it was just an Amy thing.
I’d like to get this moment to thank you personally for taking time out to read this blog, my dad always said that the most precious gift you can give anyone Amy is your time and in a world where we feel there isn’t enough hours in the day, I thank you for taking time out to read my online diary.