Who am I?
That is an important question and curiously esoteric, but we won’t delve in to the philosophy of Self at the moment; that’s an e-book in itself and Zen Buddhism has covered it quite well (not that theres anything to tell really lol.) For now, let us stay with the basics. My name is Bryan and I love to travel. Out of all possible human activities, travel is the one I like best. Therefore, my priorities in life are geared towards acquiring and maintaining the freedom that makes long term travel possible. This may mean traveling cheap, saving money, learning new skills, improvising, trusting other human beings, learning to forgo a few luxuries. This report is intended to communicate my travels as well as my methods and the tools I use and the skills and techniques I learn along the way to make it all possible.
Why do I travel?
I travel for travels sake. That is to say, travel offers me things that a conventional lifestyle doesn’t. Having a great, stable, boring job with a wife, 2.3 kids and a white picket fence, just ain’t my style. I don’t enjoy routine and if that makes me a little weird, then so be it. So far, my weirdness has taken me to Germany, Australia, Singapore, Africa, The Middle East, Mexico, and has given me the gumption to hitchhike and bicycle across the US. I travel because you just can’t get a life like this without traveling. The simplicity, freedom, adventure, good conversation, new experiences, the chance to reinvent myself every time I meet someone new is too good an opportunity to pass up.
Life for me is a journey of learning about the Self; travel for me is a means of self-exploration. Travel is life and life is travel, a process whereby I learn about and begin to understand my internal landscape by exploring the outer world.
Travel has taught me to trust in humanity. I used to be so angry with people, my country, society, politics and traveling has helped me to understand that people really are still basically good, it is only the ‘structures’ that we have in place that ‘get in the way.’ Travel has given me new eyes to see the world in its original innocence.
Travel has also allowed me the opportunity to recreate my life. We all have certain aspects of our personality that we either don’t like and wish we could get rid of, or we have latent aspirations that we don’t dare try to cultivate, and travel is a time to work on oneself. I used to be shy, I mean very shy, but travel (low budget style) is by nature a social endeavor. Travel put me in positions where I MUST connect with other people. Being shy would have been to my detriment. My travels have forced me out of my shell and I am the better for it.
Travel can be educational. I say can be, because you have to choose to educate yourself while traveling. In the course of my travels, I have learned a smattering of several languages, histories of a great many locales, I have studied the philosophies of many different schools of thought. Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian, Hindu. I have devoured massive amounts of information regarding health, nutrition, and physical fitness. I’ve had sailing lessons, I’ve learned how to shop for bargains and negotiate to get the best deal, and I’ve learned how to pack efficiently and even carry sensitive items like eggs and meat unrefrigerated and unprotected in a bag on a bicycle, and I didn’t get sick. After stumbling upon an old Army Survival Guide, I began to purposely train in Survival Skills (safely).Travel has taught me how to manage my always dwindling funds and has helped me rediscover true wealth and to recognize real value.
As a benefit of this new way of thinking about my wealth and money, I can survive and even thrive on little to no money. In some circumstances, money actually gets in my way. There have been times where money has been a barrier between me and the people I sought to meet and get to know. And very recently, my complete and total lack of anything resembling money allowed me the rare opportunity to learn just which people in my life were real friends.
Travel is an incredibly constructive endeavor, but more than that, it is by and large peaceful. There’s not a whole lot of stress while traveling (low budget style and after a certain point) and I enjoy that. When I first began traveling I had the same fears that everyone else does. What happens when (and it is when) I run out of money? How will I eat? Where will I sleep? Where am I going? What will I do when I get there? What should I do along the way? What if I end up a homeless bum? What if (insert something bad here) happens to me?
I had every fear in the book running through my head, but a curious thing began to happen. As the days went on I became less and less worried. I discovered that I rather enjoyed sleeping outside; I was just fine in a tent or in naught but a sleeping bag under the stars on clear nights. In every adventure after my first, I have found that more and more I actually enjoy traveling with little to no money, even if I have other alternatives.
Growing up I was very, ‘sciency’ and ‘logical.’ I would say I was a very rigid person, some would say I still am, but they didn’t meet me then :-), travel gives me the oppertunity each and every day to be: me. Someone who is strangly comfortable with question marks and unknowable questions. The kinda guy who delights in not knowing where he’ll end up next; who takes a twisted pleasure in knowing that things can’t get much worse; and finds that in down and out situations, very much like Zen Satori “Nothing is left to you at that moment but to have a good laugh.”
I travel because walking is what I do, and Nomadic is what I am. Travel is me in my ‘suchness’ as the Buddhists would say. I travel because the definition of Travel is the same as Zen, “When hungry eat. When tired sleep.”