I AM A BACKPACKER

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I started my trip to Asia in November 2015; I was given the challenge to travel around Asia for at least six months. I never thought of moving for such a long time, I’ve always been a person who likes the quietness of his life in his country with work, family, and friends who will always be there for him. So leaving this comfortable situation in which I had lived for many years, was the challenge.

When I accepted, I started doubting because I was not sure about living a life full of uncertainty in which I did not know what could happen. This was before I had a dream which told me I had to travel to venture far from home, so I woke up in the morning and no longer thought anymore. I just packed and grabbed my backpack, my dream and started this adventure which, I can say today, is one of the most challenging and beautiful stories I could have begun.

This new challenge began in Chiang Mai (Thailand), where I stayed for six weeks. I couldn’t feel more comfortable in a city where people are lovely and greeting you with kindness. They meet you on the street and want to know more about you, always trying to communicate with you despite the barriers of the language, pulling out their phone to take a picture with you and helping away when you need it. I couldn’t believe to get so much attention. What I do appreciate is they are happy in their humility, simply they are happy!

I believe this kind of situation make you take a step back to think again about your life, who you are and the person you want to be. I understood one thing about mine. It feels like before I was not living the way I should have lived, the way I like to live. By this, I mean talking to everyone and anyone, helping without waiting for anything in return, just enjoying a present moment for what it is, not thinking about what it could bring back to me.
I realized that more important than what traveling gives us out by moving around is what it can give us inside, within our mind and heart. This brought me many opportunities, the opportunity to know myself, the opportunity to be myself, and the chance to live for myself.

In Thailand, I have lived many adventures, many different and many never experienced before, I swam in its waterfalls, I jumped from the highest point of the canyon, I climbed its magnificent mountains, I danced in the festival of lights, I tried best meals and I have meditated in its countless temples. At this moment I realized that everything was real. Before, I thought that everything I just mentioned was only part of a dream, part of a different reality than mine. But finally, things that I was doing and things that I was feeling, are now part of a new life for me. It became part of my reality, and that changed my life, I was still the same person in the same body but with a different mind, now able to understand that the best teaching of life is when you live.
I thought the life of a traveler was easy, full of adventures, fun and beautiful places to see. And I have to admit that I pictured a wrong idea of backpacking.

My life in Peru, although excellent, was everything except an adventurous day. All was planned, work, meetings, meals, friends, parties, etc. I knew when, where and how it would happen, with no place for risk or unknown. Instead, as a traveler, I did not know what would happen the next day, where I'll go, where I'll eat, who I’ll meet, and even if I'll be safe or not. But all is part of the ‘package’ I signed off when I took the challenge, accepted the terms and conditions which don’t exist …

I have no regret at all, even tough I wondered why I didn’t do it before, what stopped me. I can’t find the answer, but it won’t have any impact on me now to move on. Because it is never too late to take the right decision, never too late to assume new challenge, because my time is now! Not before or after, I’m living now.
I would have loved to live much longer in Thailand, that every day is a new adventure, but that wasn't in the plans, the plan was to conquer new places and assume new challenges, so with great sadness, I had to leave a part of my dream in Thailand, go and look for another challenge without thinking more.

I met the sunrise from the highest point of the temple in Myanmar, I get carried away in tubing for the great river in Laos, I bathed in mud in the caves of Vietnam, I follow the path of the great and historic temples of Angkor in Cambodia, I explored the depth of beaches in Indonesian, and in the Philippines I let myself be enchanted by the beauty of its islands.
Before the trip, I thought that it would be difficult to start. Now, I understand how hard it is when you have to end it. And I’m not ready for that! I’m not ready to leave something that is now begun to be part of my life. I have learned so much from people who spent many years backpacking; they have been for me an incredible inspiration and a way to know that I want to stay on this path, where I always wanted to be, where I always should have been. A path where I am the person I want to be! The best things end sometimes, they said, but if I'm just starting out, is it ending now?

I’m now one week away to end this trip in Asia. I am back in Chiang Mai, the place where everything started, this great country which gave me the opportunity to face my challenge and start my adventure. I’m here sitting by forty-three degrees with my bottle of water in one hand, writing this story on the other, a story I had the opportunity to live, and the opportunity to share with you today, trying to find the right words, trying to find a good ending.

It’s been now eleven months since I started my trip. I spent five of them in Asia, and all this time I realized that I was wrong. At some point of the journey, I felt completely happy because I told myself, that I was conquering the world, by visiting places, meeting people, learning about cultures and life … But I had forgotten the most important thing; I conquered myself. I conquered my fears leaving everything for nothing; I conquered my dreams to make them the reality. I went over the limited way we used to see and think things. But all over I conquered my heart because now I don’t do whatever I want but I want all I do, and that's one of the most beautiful feelings that the traveling had given to me.