I started my big trip end of April. It was the beginning of something new. I wanted to see the world instead of being at the same place every day. So I decided to quit my job, leave my flat and explore the world – even though it was just a tiny little part of the world I traveled, but anyways, it’s a start. Three months later I was sitting in the plane to Hongkong where I would take the next one to Manila, Philippines.
Every second or third day I traveled to another place. Sometimes I stayed longer, when I really loved the spot. Or the opposite: left already after one night, when I needed to face cockroach invasions, heavy thunderstorms and rainfalls or other kinds of, let’s say, uncomfortable circumstances. 80 days of traveling isn’t loads of time, but I could make it to 25 cities, 7 islands and 5 countries. I could meet a lot of interesting people, make some true friends, experience the beauty of nature, cultures and people. 234 bus-rides, dozens of adventurous scooter lifts, numerous ferry- and boat-trips, 7 flights – 256 hours of traveling and 26.000 km in total – made my journey a memorable experience.
Now I am back home again. Full of memories, mesmerized by the experiences, bursting with energy to make new plans for my future. Even though 80 days are not a very long time, compared to how long other travelers I met are on their journey, but anyhow – 80 days can change a lot. When I arrived back home, every material thing I possess seemed excessively luxurious to me. My apartment, my little car, my cupboard. I learned to live well with 10 kilos in my backpack and I never missed anything. There were still some clothes I’d never worn on my travels until the day I went back to Germany. 10 kilos. That’s all I need. I miss the simplicity of life. Go out on the streets with nothing more than your light summer dress, walk to the next street food cart and buy some Pad Thai or Morning Glory for 50 Cents, talk to random people you don’t know and end up sitting together all night, having some drinks and tell the story of your life in a couple of hours – sometimes random travelers know more about yourself than your best friends will ever know.
It was confusing for me being back home again and adapt to the situation here and talk about the daily-life topics again, while, deep insight of me, there was this fire burning, which had been lit during my journey. I am longing for freedom now, more than ever before. A couple of months ago I totally stuck to my hometown and wasn’t willing to leave it anyhow. Now the world is my home and I want to learn everything about it and live at places I temporary like most, then move on when I feel like it. But still, there is this life I live here in Germany to which I need to go back somehow – at least at the moment. Familiy and friends, apartment, work, the so called reality sometimes hinders you from living free and independent.
How to combine the everyday life with the sense of traveling
Longterm travelers often face problems with settling in the daily life they had before. Traveling changes a lot. Afterwards you have a different point of view on all the things than before. So the question is – how can I live free and independent while managing the every day life here back in my home country? How can I keep the change of mind alive, regarding the relative unimportance of material stuff, the importance of humility and awareness of the fatal living conditions of so many people out there in the world, while adapting to the living standard here? When I came back, there was this gap between the life I had lived the previous months and the life I was supposed to live here again. I really would love to adapt here again but at the same time I don’t want to forget what I have learned during my travels. My personal development is way too important and life changing for me so I’m concerned about being the same person than before if I adapt too much again. However I want to find a way to combine both: my everday-me and my travel-me. So what I did was to find an activity which fulfills me, where I am able to give something back to people who are not as privileged as we are here in Germany or the western world in general. That was the most important learning from my travels: Germans complain. Often. About everything. Even though, to be honest, the poorest people here are rich somehow as they can get food, drink or a shelter if they ask for help. When you loose your job you get governmental support. You are entitled to get a washing machine, you can keep your TV, to name just two of all the conveniences you still have as jobless person. Your apartment is payed by the state, you have a toilet, a shower, running water. You can smoke cigarettes, payed by the state, you have something to eat and don’t need to feel the pinch of hunger. We even have the opportunity to accommodate refugees from other countries. We are privileged.
Make this world a better place
My awareness of the problems all over the world has risen a lot in the past three months. I visited the website Betterplace, which is a great idea to connect people who need help with people who are willing to spend either money or time, to make this world a little bit better. There I found this offer from Street Child, an association which supports kids in Sierra Leone and Liberia to go to school and get the education they deserve. Or help families to improve their business and earn their living. That way I can stay in touch with the world out there, donate a little bit of my time and knowledge for people who’s life conditions aren’t as good as mine (which is not my gain).
I love travelling. I love the lessons I learned. I love the life I live now.