No Yin without Yang

Travel blogs can often be very deceiving, I’ve had a rough few days emotionally which I’m over now so I can reflect back and write with a clear mind. Of course it’s lovely to write about all of the amazing things, and more often than not I find myself waffling on about this awesome trip, or that isolated village I stumbled across. However, it’s not all pink roses and fairy dust, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, such as life.

At times travelling can be real tough. Tough on the mind, the body and the bank balance. Tough on relationships with friends, family or work colleagues. As with everything, life is about balance, and there is no Yin without Yang.

Missing out on family events or best friends having kids, getting married etc, or the celebration of friends and loved ones graduating. Quite a few of my close friends have kids and I’m missing out on the early years, the growth of a baby to a little monster, causing havoc around the house! These are some positive things that are missed, and they are hard to deal with at times. Then you have the negative shit to deal with, disagreements between loved ones playing on your mind, or having to deal with the death of a close friend or a loved one.

It’s rather overwhelming with all of the possibilities of what can be done. It’s important to take a step back, breathe, remember that I have my whole life ahead of me, and that I don’t have to fly around every country and complete everything I want to complete in the next few years.

Having said that, it’s hard. I have to move on from Australia this year and deciding what to do is very hard. It sounds silly, but the world is literally my oyster, and like many others, this predicament is a love hate relationship. It’s so beautiful to be able to have all of these bucket list options but at the same time it’s a #%&*! Behind all of the pretty pictures are relentless hours of research and grafting to save the funds for the trip in the first place. Then how you’re going to get around that non-native speaking country and after all of that you have to work out where you’re going next! And considering I don’t know where I’m going in the first place it’s rather hard!

Going with the flow works well in some places, but not all. Providing you have enough money you can rock up to some places and just go for it. Work it out there, speak to locals or travelers and just go. Some continents, like Africa or South America for example need intense planning whether you are on a budget or not. It’s not just about touring that country, having enough money to feed yourself and see the sites you want to see. It’s also about getting yourself out of that situation – the after plan. Covering the costs of flying to a country where you can work, accommodate, and feed yourself isn’t cheap and generally speaking, a country where you go to save money has high living costs in exchange for high wages.

In this case I’d  work out a budget for a month as I believe I  can get a job within a month (often less, I once left a job and within 5 days I had another job and I traveled from North to South Australia in this time too). I know my bills to live in Melbourne are around $1200 per month so if returning to Melbourne I know that’s what I need to survive. This is all before flights have even been purchased. So as you can see, the headache isn’t necessarily in the traveling, but the aftermath. Going for broke is no exit strategy, unless you want to end your travels very abruptly.

For now though, these things are minor bumps on the journey and are forcing me to look elsewhere, like permaculture farms, volunteering, wwoofing, workaway, HelpX or working on cruise liners to get me from A to B.

A beautiful thing about life is if you don’t like something, you can change it. If you don’t like the job you are in, or the city you live in, the people you live with or the “friends” you socialize with, change it. For me, personally, right now it’s the city. I have a love hate relationship with the city. Like most, I find it convenient, it’s a barrel of laughs on the odd weekend getting drunk with friends and going to events which you don’t find in little villages / towns.

Cognitive dissonance is how I feel at the minute. I feel oppressed by the city, trying to manipulate my mind through its genius ways. Making out as if I’m the mad one for caring about shit other than trump, a mortgage and a fresh pair of kicks. The city is like monogamy, keeping you restricted to one mate at a time, impaling your thoughts to stop them from extending past the concrete walls. Keeps you ticking along in a little bubble of thought, like Nemo wanting to know what’s out in the deep depths of the ocean, one must ride up and take the step.

So, what’s the plan Stan?  – I’ll be damned if I know. For now, I need to save money and stay focused. My contract ends sometime in May so I shall be back on the move then. Myself and a few friends are going to road trip up the East Coast and I shall be dropped off somewhere in North Queensland to jump back into the tropics of rain forests, mountains and the beautiful star lit sky. Until then, I’ll keep researching places to visit, keep saving and keep walking through the shit storm.

I spoke previously about the cost of travels, and obviously I can only relate to how I’ve traveled. I know there are cheaper ways to travel, but this works for me, for now. To save for the expenses of flights, and travels etc you have to go without a lot. You have to completely minimalize your life down, and ask yourself DO I REALLY NEED THIS?

I have an iPhone 4, it’s old, it’s shit, but it works. I have eaten the same curry pasta I made for the past four days in a row, it’s old, it’s shit, but it works. I replace my clothes with ones from charity shops, or unwanted clothes from friends. We share just about everything, especially accommodation to split rent costs, we drink in rather than out, eat in rather than out. Cycle rather than use public transport, hitch hike rather than catch a bus or post online to find a care share. There are so many ways you can actively work towards reducing your expenditures to make way for fun and exciting trips.

But guess what? You have a choice where you want to spend the ups and downs, and I’m quite happy carrying mine on my back, country to country. It’s very rare that I have feelings like this any more, but they do come around from time to time, and I think they hit slightly harder because I’m so used to being in a little bubble of happiness.

I’ve really enjoyed writing this piece, it helps me outline to myself that the grass is often greener on the other side, but with some perseverance you can grow your grass just as green.

Thank you for reading 🙂

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