The best things about travelling

by on 19th July, 2013

The joy of travelling

As Andean Trails’ Tom prepares to go on holiday to Spain’s Cabo de Gata, he thinks back to long travels, short travels, all travelling – and what he feels that he misses about them all.


He writes:

“Some of things that I miss and love about travelling when I’m at home are similar to the things I miss about home when travelling…


The planning

When at home, it’s the gazing at the map and wondering what those contours mean, where one night I’ll lay my head, where I’ll enjoy the sunset.

While on the road, it’s wondering if there’s a bus from town to town, whether the boat will go after the storms, choosing between beach or mountains or city or landscape. Half my travel is in done in my head in the planning, the expectation then the realisation.


The journey

I never get excited about the trip during transit. Airports, queues, flights; they are all part of the process of getting me to where I want to be.

I still want to get through immigration and then.

That’s it.

I’m. On. Holiday. I miss that moment of the gates opening and the whirl of the new place, usually a busy city, overwhelming the senses.


New food

A home and away category here, but nothing can compare with the sights and smells of another city, country or continent to get those curious taste buds and olfactory organs jangling.

I never thought I’d eat guinea pig, never knew avocado could be a milkshake or that insects were lovely when roasted. Who knew a cheese pasty was the source of national pride in Bulgaria? Or that in Jakarta living snakes are currently sliding around in crates whose lid is a frying pan, and that pan will be the last thing they see on earth.

Or just going to your favourite restaurant when it refreshes the menu. For me it’s that idea and process of change.


The ‘What shall I do today?’

Mainly applicable to the being away category but slips into the weekends and evenings at home too, it is exactly that which it says.

On trips of more than a month, it’s not that you waste time, it’s just you can melt into it and mould it, bend it and really enjoy it for what it is.

Doing something today may mean doing nothing and thinking about tomorrow (or not), or rushing around three bus companies to get tickets, or heading to a local festival.

It may mean bumping into a stranger and ending with dinner in their family home. It’s the unknown (where you are, locals) mixed with the known (you/your thoughts).


The going without (living on the basics)

Some of this is deliberate, some is not.

The first month of a long trip I do fall into the spending-it-like-water trap. Following the first sharp intake of breath at the bank balance, it’s not that you’ll be tight, it’s just that some things stop being important.

I find I soon stop worrying about the flashy restaurant on the terrace, the luxury coffees, the internet. I’m happy just watching people in plazas or heading to the hills with a tent and some camping food.

It’s not self-denial, it’s realising, with your slim line backpack, that life, really, is quote slim line and uncomplicated. So you don’t need to carry that 52-inch plasma TV dream on your shoulders, wherever you are.


Not working

I love my job here at Andean Trails (I suspect lots of other people would like it too!), but nothing beats a weekend, a holiday, an early finish a couple of weeks or a year off. That feeling of saying goodbye work and hello señor holiday.

Which is exactly what I’ll be doing after posting this!”

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