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Benefits of long term travel No. 4

Impatient people who are used to the Internet will find that travel is slow and full of nuisance and delay - that there’s no instant gratification. Or that there’s only one bus or train a week and you might get stuck. They haven’t got the patience for it but that’s what travel teaches you. Temperamentally, people are less suited to travel than ever because the Internet is so quick in offering answers, but they’re not always the right answers. So there is more reason than ever to travel but there are fewer people willing to put up with the nuisance of it these days.
— Paul Theroux

There are no shortcuts to travel. When days turned into weeks, turned into months and turned into years, it wasn't so much the destination anymore. It was the in between moments, the pee break next to a small pop up restaurant in the middle of nowhere, half asleep, dazed, half confused, having lost all perceptions of time and space; looking forward to a new hostel bunk, then doing it all again in a few days.

Can travel be dangerous, before you even leave home?

My favorite book blog and all in one site for fostering creativity, braingpickings.org, posted a fantastic short video, simply titled, The Gap, using a speech given by Ira Glass, host of This American Life podcast. That short video drew me to his podcast and the first episode I listened to talks about something all travelers are familiar with - the  anti-malaria drug, and stories by some who took Lariam.

In act 3 of the podcast, we'll hear an interview with David Maclean, telling his story of waking up one morning, on a train platform in India with no idea who he was or why he was there. No money. No passport. No identity.

How often do you challenge yourself in your travels?

The Great Pyramids, Egypt

Instead of seeing the Great Pyramids with a horde of other travelers and locals selling camel rides,  another backpacker and I decided to see the pyramids from a different point of view. I think we left the hostel shortly after 4 in the morning, getting a cab ride down to someone who could get us a couple of horses. We rode in pitch black darkness across the desert, with locals racing each other, and sprinting past us at very unsafe speeds. We waited inside a Bedouin tent, drinking hot tea and shivering in the cold desert night, waiting for the sunrise. Of course, it was completely covered in fog, but having the experience to see the Great Pyramids, almost completely to ourselves, except the few crazy locals still racing around on their horses, is what makes traveling so great. 

Benefits of long term travel No.3

Quilotoa Crater Lake, Ecuador

You ask a person, “what did you do yesterday?” they will give you a historical account of the sequence of events. They will say, “well, I woke up at about seven o’clock in the morning. I got up and made myself some coffee, and then I brushed my teeth and took a shower, got dressed, had some breakfast and went down to the office and did this and that,” and so on... But actually that is only the very skelton account of what you did. You lived a much richer life than that, except you did not notice it. You only paid attention to a very small part of the information received through your five senses. You forgot to say that when you got up first thing in the morning and made some coffee, that your eyes slid across the birds outside your window. And the light on the leaves of the tree. And that your nose played games with the scent of the boiling coffee. You didn’t even mention it because you were not aware of it. Because you were in a hurry. You were engaged on getting rid of that coffee as fast as possible so that you could get to your office to do something that you thought was terribly important...
— Alan Watts

When I first set out on my round the world trip, my first few months were just a series of highlight reels; looking for one great adventure after another. But they're simply highlights, they don't occur during my every waking moment. They were a lot of long pauses in between, small moments that went by, completely oblivious to me in the beginning. But it's these small details that help make the picture complete. Start noticing the small details and moments.