They say there can be too much of a good thing.
Too much fun. Too much money. Too much travel.
Too much travel? Really?
As I sit here in my hostel in Quito, typing away on a rainy afternoon, I realise what a tired and jaded traveller I’ve become. I’m in one of the most diverse and exciting countries in South America. The coast is home to incredible beaches and parties. The Amazon is an hour flight away. The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the world’s rarest wildlife. The Andes are within spitting distance. And then you have the cultural gems of Mindo, Cotopaxi, Cuenca, Riobamba and Baños just a bus ride away.
Yet all I’ve done for the last two weeks is sit in the hostel and watch TV. And drink. And play poker. And sleep.
When you’ve travelled as much as I have, it’s easy to forget why you started in the first place.
And so, for no reason at all, I started reading through my blog. I started with my About Page, and then my favourite stories, and then my e-book. I read about my walk on Wall Street, and my time in Africa. I read it all.
And as I did, one quote hit me like a brick.
“There is an incredible, mind-blowing world out there, more fascinating than you ever imagined it to be.”
What caused me to write that? What was it, or who was it, that made me feel that way? What blew my mind? What was so fascinating?
And suddenly, all the memories came flooding back. I thought back to all the people I had met, the amazing stories they had shared with me, the laughter, tears, anger, sadness, everything that had made my journeys memorable. I thought about the mixture of joy and depression that came with coming home. I thought about the friends I had since almost forgotten, the girls I had fallen in love with, the kids who had taught me life lessons with a single smile.
I read my own words, and it all came back.
And now I remember why I travel.
Us long term travellers are spoiled on the road. We forget what we’re looking at. We get lazy. Unappreciative. Another rural town with beautiful colonial buildings? Snore. Seen one of them before.
But if we stop being such jaded, stuck-up snobs, we might remember what this new town really represents; a new adventure. You might meet your next best friend here. You might hear a song that you would never hear anywhere else . You might fall in love with the girl who sits beside you at the coffee shop. You might eat a mandarin pie that is so perfect it will be seared into your taste-bud memory for life.
But we forget that. All of us do.
And that’s when I realised, this blog isn’t just for you. It’s for me, too.
We all need a little inspiration from time to time.
How else are we going to get through that 25-hour bus ride? Why else are we going to endure 36 hours of diarrhoea? Why else would we sleep in a room that smells like feet with six other smelly backpackers?
It’s because of the possibilities. When you move, everything is new. Anything can happen. Endure the journey and see what it spits out. That’s the spirit of travelling.
If you’ve forgotten why you travel, look back through your photos. Think of your past memories. Listen to the local songs you fell in love with. Remember the people who inspired you, who changed the way you look at life. Think of all the lessons you learned. Try to remember the reason you fell in love with the road.
Chances are, you’ve forgotten how incredible it all was.
So take the time to remember. And then go do it all over again.
Time for a new adventure? I think so.
We all need, just a little bit, of inspiration.