There are two great lessons that I learned while traveling around the world:
- Never piss off the one person in the whole world who can get you back home.
- Slow travel is better.
The first lesson I learned early on in our travels and heeded closely our whole time away. The second took some time to sink in.
Although we loved having an apartment in Santiago and again in Berlin, we continued along on our head-spinning itinerary for months. It was when we finally left India and entered into Thailand that we really slowed down, spending 3 weeks at a resort on Koh Phangnan only to pick up the pace again through to the end.
Why couldn’t I slow down? What compelled me to think that every, teeny, tiny Thai village was completely unique in some way so that I couldn’t just settle in one for a while and really get to know it?
I always seem to be thinking that there is something else ‘just around the corner’ or ‘in the next town’ that absolutely must be seen – it couldn’t possibly be the same as here! It’s been a chronic problem for me — never being able to completely enjoy where I am as I look forward to where we could be. I’ve done well to quell it but returning home has really made me practice.
We are now practicing Very. Slow. Travel.
We have moved to Calgary as part of our Responsibly Irresponsible plan and are learning that travel hasn’t left us at all but that, in exploring our new home and planning for our future, we are in fact just traveling at beyond-a-snails-pace.
We are still traveling in many ways:
- I still get lost – a lot. My navigation skills have not gotten any better; I still check the map almost every time before going somewhere and it’s not uncommon for me to take an exit and then have to u-turn to head the correct way.
- We don’t know anyone. We’ve spent the summer exploring our new home and have had no time to make new friends. Mostly it’s just J and I just like when we were on the road.
- We don’t always know where to go to get what we need. When traveling we often didn’t know where to go to get that cup of coffee or beer that we were craving, or which hostel was the best one to get a good nights sleep, or where the correct bus station was. Now we’re searching for the best sushi place, or the grocery store that actually stocks soba noodles, or a good beer.
- We’re travelers in our new home town. We’re out every weekend exploring the city, the prairies and the mountains; finding festivals, hikes, drives and secret hideaways as we learn, very slowly, what this corner of the world has to offer.
But we also have the benefit of staying put for a while:
- Discovering that great coffee shop around the corner. It took trying 4 other ones first but now we have it right.
- Having a ‘local’. Being able to walk in and have your new favorite barkeep pour your regular is comforting.
- Cooking. I love trying new food but being able to make a roast or a big vat of pea soup is heavenly.
- Watching the seasons change. The weather here is quite different from Victoria and I’m enjoying just watching it all unfold as one season becomes another. Of course, talk to me in another couple of months when I’m begging for winter to be over!
Of course sometimes the slow travel lesson cannot be adhered to; such as my upcoming whirlwind tour of the rum-soaked island of Jamaica. Believe me, I’ll manage, but so far I’m liking the slower pace to our journey.
[Photo Credit: Don Hankins]