It’s almost my One Year Anniversary of backpacking.
In this time I’ve been to Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, NYC, Russia, France, and LA.
Here are 16 Lessons of What You Can Expect on The Road.
1. Better at the Beach
It’s so much better to process your own inner issues with yourself and the world when you’re on a beach or an organic dessert oasis than when stuck in traffic again, or an overly air-conditioned office with a shitty boss.
2. Be Flexible
If you’re a vegan, you might have to suck it up and eat some cheese in places. Or starve. Well, you won’t starve, but there comes a day when rice and beans and flavorless lettuce becomes boring – and nutritionally unsustainable. If you have time to plan everything, it can work, but sometimes there’s no time. It took me a few months to crack, but in Mexico i caved on the cheese thing a few times. I survived. You would too.
3. Homebody No’Mo’
On those days when you just want to “Stay In” or “Do Nothing” or “Veg Out” and watch a movie on the couch or eat and stay in bed…you’re fucked. Cause you don’t ever really have your own bed, or that comfy cradled homey feeling. And the need for it can sneak up anytime. And yet you still have to go out into the world. Feeling ass-naked and needing inner sanctuary, but having none. Watcha-gonna-do? Make the best of it. Try and find little things to keep yourself grounded, like a yoga mat.
3.5 Gratitude for Other’s Homes
During your travels, you will most likely end up staying with other people. Be grateful to them, treat their homes with respect, and follow the Golden Rule to leave a place better than when you found it. Even if that’s just leaving a sweet note and some healthy candy or flowers. I once scrubbed my friends really browned and dirty toilet when i spent a week with them, cause i wanted to offer the gift of cleaning.
4. Go With The Flow
Having no plan is often the BEST plan. Just go with the flow, trust strangers (gasp) and make decisions on a whim. Don’t have any plans for the future and just meet people and roll with it.
5. Pack light
Its better to buy locally than to carry around stuff for “just in case” and 3 different seasons, all on your very fragile spine. And make peace with having 2 outfits. Forget regular underwear use.
6. Soul Mates
You will meet the best people EVER. You will meet people who are your soul mates – as friends, as lovers, as mentors, as one-time-connections. They will touch your life in profound ways.
7. Foodie Heaven
You will taste an incredible diversity of foods you could never have dreamed of. Like fruits that are silvery white and fuzzy and taste like marshmallows, no joke. And probably for cheap too.
You will learn a new language. Because no one speaks english. (i’m lookin at you, Cuba. But thanks, actually.)
9. Trust in the Universe
You will see the magic of the Universe unfold before you in divine perfection, and you will see that all worrying is pretty much pointless. You will witness unfathomable synchronicities, receive gifts from the Universe, and feel how you can just lean back into Life and be so taken care of. (it’s ok, you’ll forget it too, but be reminded over and over again).
You will find out how strong you are. You will be tested. And you will prevail. You will always rise to the occasion. Somehow. Even if you crumble completely, and have a breakdown, you will rise back from the ashes. You will become amazed at yourself.
You want to document your journey. But you don’t want the photos and videos to take over your life. Find that balance for yourself.
12. Who Am I?
You will realize that who you think you are is a complete construct dictated by a cultural understanding and environment. “You” becomes a very fluid concept that all of the sudden is doing things “you” would never have wanted, liked, or enjoyed – and you’re LOVING it. You learn that all the other “me”s around you (your friends) are just about as made up as you are – and when you hear them say things like “I just can’t stand to be naked in front of others,” you know its not true – they just haven’t had the right experiences yet to feel differently.
13. Pacha Mama
You start noticing nature – you watch the sun, you are aware of the moon, you see stars, and you start connecting to plants. And you wonder how you ever lived without the most primal, necessary connection of all.
14. Way Back?
You wonder how/if you’ll ever be able to reintegrate into normal life. And you miss your family but wonder how they’ll react to the new you thats been to the moon and back in just a few months.
15. Reality Check
Uprooting and becoming a traveling nomad is not always as glamorous as it seems. It can be hard, and exhausting. But it’s also amazing. And inspiring. Life Changing. And so wonderful.