After Iain wrote his blog entitled “Why do we travel?” it got me thinking. When we first announced to friends family and co-workers that we were quitting our jobs to backpack around South America, we were met with varying reactions. One of the most common was “Why, what are you going to do out there?” Initially my response was “Well derr, nothing, sweet nothing.” Though honestly I can say in the past 2 months I have never spent a day doing nothing…
It feels like a lifetime ago we left the UK, but truthfully every day flies by too quickly for my liking. So my days are not quite as busy as when I worked 9-7pm, squeezed in the gym after and tried to cook a decent meal, but travelling full time is a busy lifestyle. A different pace perhaps but still busy nonetheless.
Even in our days of “downtime” we will usually be exploring the local shops, blogging, keeping in touch with friends and family or researching what to do next. Most nights I fall asleep reading a Rough Guide or Lonely Planet on my kindle deliberating where to go tomorrow.
When we left the UK our plans were very loose, so loose in fact they consisted of Rio Carnival and Lollapalooza in Buenos Aires a month later. Other than that, we figured we’d have enough money to live comfortably (just!) for about a year out here, so really the possibilities are endless! Doing nothing is not an option when there is so much to see and do out there!
We are big fans of keeping the plans loose and rarely plan much further than a few days ahead but due to circumstances we have been forced to book our Inca Trail in Peru. They only allow a limited number on the trail each day so you are forced to book at least 6 months in advance. However given that this trek is not until the end of September we have a fair amount of flexibility still to play with.
So what are our motivations for travelling? In 2011, on our first round the world trip, we had a limited time in each country we visited, as we had onward flights booked. Our aim really was to tick off the “must see” sights in the guide books and move on to the next place. This time we are, as we like to call it, “slow travelling”. Although we are still drawn to see the “top sights” we also want to see the places and the people.
I’ve not fooled myself into thinking you can truly know a place with a few extra days…but it sure is fun trying to get to know it. It’s fair to say we didn’t need 10 days in Rio or 11 days in Buenos Aires to see the tourist attractions. Yet one of my fondest memories will be finding my favourite veg stall in San Telmo market and being welcomed back each day with a cheery smile…so much so they put up with me asking for the Spanish name for each vegetable! Or even being talked at by the locals on Rio’s buses yet having no clue what they were saying but smiling and nodding all the same.
Hopefully in the next year we may even find a job volunteering and stay put for a while, so we can really experience a place. Who knows where but this would certainly be a new chapter to our travels. Like other backpackers part of the fun for us has also been meeting people, both locals and other likeminded travellers. As after all isn’t half the fun of travelling exchanging stories and advice with others?
So why do we travel? Because everyday is different. There is so much out there to see and do. We can’t possibly hope to see everything but we are going to have a pretty good stab at it over the next year, so keep reading…
Why do you travel? We would love to hear your thoughts.