After traveling for well over a year, I feel that I have picked up on some things that I would never have considered when I was merely an overexcited backpack wearing a person, awaiting my flight from Heathrow to Bangkok back in October 2012.
These are lessons that you can only learn once the 6 digits staring back at you from your internet banking screen becomes a figure that better reflects your now shabby and tired appearance.
See, when I first landed in Bangkok, I was snug in the knowledge that two years of hard saving was there for the spending, in a country where you would find great difficulty in spending over $15 a day.
Then New Zealand happens…
Then those 6 digits that once greeted you with a warming collateral cuddle are simply drunken distant memories and bunjee jump backstories.
‘The real world’ stampedes its way back into your dream-like existence and forces you to make a decision – you either fly home and return to the life that you intended to leave behind or you flick the switch from extravagant galavanting mode to bare-basic survival setting. Don’t for one second assume that I’m telling you to find a dry spot in the doorway of a hostel you once called home for a night or two, curl up into the fetal position and assume that every night from here-on-out will be a fight or die battle in which you fret about the good probability of your hunger-withered corpse being dumped in the Mekong.
I’m talking about traveling smart, something that I feel a lot of amateur backpackers refrain from doing and this generally results in a premature arrival back where they started. I realise that I may be coming off as imperious, however I have been that traveller and it is only from a little pick-me-up from Ma and Pa and a dedication to change, that I am currently sitting here in a Starbucks in Virginia, continuing to forget what home ever looked like.
So before I go ahead and watch more of my traveling comrades fall victim to the imperative return to point of origin, I would like to share my knowledge and stories to better educate those of you who are either making that first big trip or are very close to donning the previously mentioned tramp-like lifestyle in a sad attempt to continue their nomadic adventures.
Arguably, the following could be longer than a love-starved kid’s Christmas list but the following ten rules are things that, had I considered when I first set-off on my never-ending journey, I would probably still be logging into my travel account without hovering a handful of Valium over my open mouth hole.