After this New Years Couch-surfers Jess and Heath
from Australia headed off again yesterday evening to Hampi I suddenly received a Facebook tag from last New Years’ couch-surfer Vishakha Tay and what she wrote is so wonderful that I felt I had to let everyone read it – with full credit to her of course!
I truly trust that you won’t mind me pasting this here Vishakha but I really do believe this shows what it is to be a true traveller through life my dear.
There were times when I had no spare money to even buy food after securing money for my logistics. Over the years I have become more organized to bring emergency super food-almond, raisins, flax seeds, chocolate bars, and lately protein powder and power bars. Even though I couldn’t experience the local cuisine I was able to nourish my system to enjoy my surrounding. You will be surprised how your fellow travelers can sense you hunger and offer you food. Also, I never take any taxi, unless I can’t get around. To save money, I’d walk. I can walk at least 26 miles a day.
“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese
I spend the least in hotel stays. Just a day or two to splurge towards the end of the trip or to experience a truly beautiful hotel which will be paid by my credit card. After few years of traveling abroad I have made some International friends who had been very generous to offer their homes to me. I have found hosts at couchsurifing.com, I have accepted invitations to stay at strangers home after talking to them for a few hours. Don’t be alarmed, you will become a very good judge of character after interacting with people from all over the world. Our brain is a sharp librarian. It keeps track of all experiences and act as an intuitive instinct to make the right decision. I have stayed in touch with every person after a meaningful encounter throughout my journey. As a constant rule of thumb, a youth hostel has always come handy when I had to worry about the condition of my pocket or my intuition didn’t cooperate with my rational mind.
It’s Worth It
“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang
After- 32 flights around the word, camel rides in a desert, jeep safari in African Savanna, meandering in the Lake Titicaca on a boat, snrkeling around Great Barrier Reef, taking night buses between far away cities, being the 6th person on a seat for five people in packed trains, hiking in sacred placed as Machu Piccu-every single time I sit behind my comfortable car on my way to work, I would have an overwhelming surreal feeling of never even leaving the the City of Angeles. All these experience become intertwined with my normal routine of going to work, taking notes in a classroom, grading papers until the wee hours at night, buying the next plane ticket, packing/unpacking my carry on suitcase, studying for a test in a long flight… The whole world has become my home. With some inspiration, practice, planning, and an ever open, accepting heart, I am always ready to explore a new corner of my play ground-the earth! This feeling of closeness to distant land, people, and culture should be experienced by every one of us. All you need is a desire, a sense of adventure, an open mind, a bit of sacrifice to your normal spending habit, and a bit of planning until you get good at it. Remember, be loyal, be friendly, sacrifice some comfort at home and open your heart, then, “…the whole world will respond to you.”~Tagore.
“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” – Samuel Johnson
Or at least he learns to enjoy simple pleasures in life, i.e., enjoying his familiar pillow!