Tommy is a backpacker and a travel blogger who decided to travel the world for six years. When I met him in Melbourne, it was halfway trough his journey.
‘I have been traveling for 3 years now beginning in SE Asia and India and more recently South America. At the beginning I had only planned on being in Asia for three months, but as I quickly found out, it was the best ever time of my life so I stayed for an extra six months. At the time, that was massive for someone like me, from a small town in the North of England. More recently I have been across in South America, which had always been planned since the World Cup was announced in Brazil a few years ago. My plan was to travel and work somewhere after Asia. This ended up being away from home in Australia When I finished backpacking South America, where I spent eleven months, I could have said ‘it’s time to go home’, even if I loved this continent, it has been a big trip and it has been tough.
But I was not ready… I was wondering where to go next. And I was looking for a place to relax, to chill out a bit, take a little while and not worry about life and things I have to do. I was not ready to go back to England, I just needed to take a step back and do a short trip.
So, after spending a year in Australia in between both backpacking trips, I headed back there and in particular Melbourne which is where I’m at right now. But not for long I must say.
I’ve seen and done a lot of things over these three years. I’ve been to the Taj Mahal in India, I’ve headed to the Bagan temples in Burma, I’ve partied on the Thai Islands, Surfed in Indonesia, Ate featus eggs in the Philippines… and thats just the ones off the top of my head from my time in Asia ! Nevermind Scuba diving with Sharks in the Galapagos, sunrise at Peru’s Machu Pichu, or spending a month in Rio for the FIFA World Cup. Sandwiched inbetween living the world’s most livable city of Melbourne, Australia. Things have been pretty awesome. Yet, it’s very much the people and the social interactions, and cultures that takes my heart.
I have met a lot of backpackers from all over the world. I’ve been in the company of some amazing, spiritual, free, crazy, loving and kind people. Yet only a handful of them are in the same vision as me when it comes to being on the road. That vision of staying on the road as long as possible. Living the life travelling, not for the experience. Them backpackers who just say to themselves, like me ‘ I just cant think of a life back home now. I’ve got too much life to see ‘.
And today I can say that my trip in South East Asia made me understand that point. This trip was about exploring the world, but also exploring myself and it changed me as a person. It changed me not for something that I wasn’t, but just allowed me to be who I wanted to be. Some people get that, some people don’t. Traveling changes you and for me it changed my life, it sounds crazy to say but it’s just the way it is. I can’t go back to my home town, it is not for me anymore. I live in Melbourne, I lived here and there, I just feel I don’t belong to my hometown anymore. There is a gap now and I can’t go back to that, I can’t see myself back home. I wouldn’t fit in.
When I hear the word travel, that means long term freedom. I don’t mean holiday or vacation. I mean travel. For longer than normal. Backpack. Frequent trips. That means get away. That means go seek the truth. That means drop all societies expectations. That means be human again, get back to basics, appreciate and see the world. I feel travel still is a privelage.
When you are traveling I believe you want to be challenging yourself. Take less tours, travel more alone, go off the beaten track more. Traveling should be about creating your own experience because it traveling for a while, or backpacking a region has never meant to be easy. It should be hard and difficult, and thats the beauty of it.
It’s funny how that can be missed back home. People may think it’s a walk in the park to travel, but social media is decieving and allows us into a paradise world. There are things that have happened to me on the road that are easily the most testing of my entire life.
Years ago when there was no social media, with no cheap flight, to be a backpacker was more a unique thing and only a few of people were able to do that. I would have loved to travel then. Perhaps just as recent as during the 80’s or the 90’s
Today it is becoming different rapidly. And people are traveling for food, for photography, for research, or even for parties. There is many different reasons you can go and travel. Some people just do flashbacking. Now there are so many different backpackers who have different intentions. You have people who come over to stay in a hostel, work, get drunk at night and don’t see much of the country.
On the other side, you will have people who are traveling on a budget and who are experiencing the real backpacking with more cultural life, heading to the Middle East or East and West Africa. You also got people in between like in South America, there you have a very specific kind of backpacker in comparison. Rather than the young crowd of South East Asia with big parties scene, South America is a lot about the adventure sports, the hiking, the scuba diving, the actual things to do there.
But saying all this, that’s what its about now. Meeting new people with new plans. My plan is to remain here, on the road, , for the travel lifestyle not to be the holiday but to be the life. To be my life. It’s been like that for three years. And i havent even got started yet really I say six years but you never know.
For me the dream is Africa. But I’ve only got Central America, The Pacific Islands, North East Asia and the Middle East to tackle aswell. The list is endless.