Imagine a rather spacious room in a certain clinic. Dim light. Chairs, arranged in a perfect circle and occupied by people involved in a group conversation. The people look like typical participants of AA meetings, but a few things they have on them seem out of place. One guy is wearing a Stetson and combat trousers. There’s a huge backpack, fully packed, lying next to another man. A third is clutching a mysterious map. One after another, they admit to their addiction.
– Hi, my name’s Marcin. I haven’t been travelling for a month already and I haven’t visited the website with special flight offers for as long as two weeks – this is how I could introduce myself if I found myself in a Travellers Anonymous’ meeting.
The question is, though, whether I would like to be cured of something that people call being addicted to travelling. I guess that every psychologist would say that it only attests to my illness, as – after all – no addict thinks they’re unhealthy or wants to change their life. But why should I do it? The world is so interesting! There are still so many places to see, so many places to do, so many local dishes to try… Time is the only thing that restricts my cultivating the addiction.
An idea for a blog
Every time my wife and I plan a new trip, we ask ourselves a fundamental question: which direction now? It was also the question we started with when founding our blog http://wktorastrone.pl. We wanted to share our backpackers’ experiences with the readers, and tell them about places worth visiting, as well as provide useful tips, whose effectiveness we personally found out about.
Do you need details of well-tried casas particulares in Cuba? Here you go. Want to know the cost of staying in Malta? No problem. Want to know what’s worth seeing in Peru or Bolivia and places that would be a waste of your time? You’re more than welcome here! We have so much material for posts in the pipeline, that we might still be writing as old age pensioners, but if there’s something missing from the blog that you’d like to ask about now, you’re free to contact you.
When describing various aspects of our trips, we primarily try to convey one simple message: travelling on your own, with your backpack on your back, is a unique experience that can be enjoyed by everybody. Anybody of us can do it! I suggest that those who disagree with this opinion think about travelling in this way: no matter if you plan a jaunt to Wrocław, Barcelona, or to the other hemisphere, the basic thing you must take care of are exactly the same. Each time, you must buy the tickets (be it a bus, train, or plane), find accommodation for at least some nights, and plan what you want to see when you get there, what to try, etc. The difference is only the time it’ll take you to travel there and back and the overall cost. The freedom and independence you get in return are an amazing reward for the effort you put into the preparations. What’s more, you can go to places which organised trips don’t reach and stay there for as much time as you feel like.
Travelling broadens the mind
Everybody must have heard the adage – travelling broadens the mind. Although it may sound banal, I have many times realised it’s true. During a trip, you discover what are the most important things in life and become confronted with your personal weaknesses, which you learn to overcome, as the realities of travelling can be unpredictable.
All of a sudden, it can turn out that you must find the strength to go hitch-hiking somewhere on a Vietnamese mountain pass drenched in the rain because a fire broke out inside the bus on which you’d been travelling. Or you’re forced to explain to suspicious Cuban police officers, and do so in a way that makes sense, how well you know the driver of an unmarked taxi who you’d met just two hours before. Plus your stomach, which must hold out the taste, or rather the look, of a soup with some meat at first sight resembling a human liver.
Travelling often ruthlessly reveal our weaknesses. It makes you leave your comfort zone and makes you realise, with no quarter given, the areas where you’re not strong enough yet. For the self-development standpoint, travelling is one of the most valuable lessons you can be given. Nothing will give you a bigger boost than the realisation that you must become stronger in a given area. The very fact that you become aware that there’s an area which you need to polish up is a great step forward. You know your weaknesses, so you can take action to translate them into your strengths
A sense of freedom
Apart from the lesson in self-development, travelling gives you something more – the priceless sense of freedom. When you roam the wilderness listening to, say, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”, the words sung by the singer gain a completely different meaning. You feel that you’re free – after all, what you’ll see and what you’ll experience depends only on you and your travelling companions. Everything’s in your hands!
When my wife and I are asked the question “where did you like it best?”, we always say the same: there’s no single answer to this question. How could you compare Thailand’s street food or Buddhist temples with the hot streets of Havana, filled with salsa and rum, or trails in the Andes, full of breathtaking Inca ruins? You just can’t do that! Every place in the world is imbued with a specific and unique climate and evokes completely different feelings and impressions. You could somehow try to categorise these things, but what would be the point of it? It’s far better to let yourself be carried by adventure and enjoy being in a given place in the world. Each of us seeks different thrills. Some chase amazing adventure, others follow traces of history, but there will also be people who’ll enjoy the most a good party with the locals or moments of savouring local cuisine.
As much as I could try to outline a ranking of European cities, one probably topped by Barcelona or Rome, it would be much more difficult for me to find my favourite city in a global sense. Moreover, you need to remember that a ranking like this would be very dynamic. Perhaps it would be up to date today, but after a month – not necessarily.
Expedition to South America
Speaking of travelling, it should be stressed that all of it wouldn’t be possible but for the cooperation model offered to me by IT Kontrakt. The B2B cooperation model is very flexible, so you can be professionally active and make your dreams come true at the same time. You just need to organise your time in a way that will allow you to easily leave for a longer holiday at the right time – all boils down to agreeing on some things and proper logistics.
I am a living example showing that such things are possible – not so long ago, I got back from a few weeks’ expedition to South America. The experiences my wife and I had there couldn’t be counted with the fingers on one hand! We negotiated the typical gringo trail from Lima to Cusco, we visited Machu Picchu, we got through to Bolivia, where we sailed on the world’s highest elevated sailable lake – the Lake Titicaca. In La Paz, we visited a witch market and went along the Death Road, one of the most dangerous roads in the world. We also visited the little known but exceptionally interesting Park Tororotoro with its cave, unusual rock formations, and an amazing canyon. We travelled on horseback near Tupiza and saw Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. We also reached the dryest place on Earth, i.e. the Atacama desert, where you can admire the moon-like landscapes of places such as Valle de la Luna or Valle de la Muerte. Finally, we went down to the bottom of Colca Canyon – the deepest canyon in the world.
What’s the conclusion of it all? It’s worth dreaming, planning, and – most importantly -making your dreams come true. If you don’t make them come true, nobody else will!