In January, my trip of almost one year came to an end, so when I came back to Taiwan I started working straight away.
Somehow, I felt kind of guilty, I hadn’t worked for one year and felt the urge to contribute more to society, but of course I also wanted to make enough money to live off and save for my next trip.
People asked me, is it hard to go back to a 9 to 5 job from being a free traveler? Can’t you get used to it? Or will I drop into a negative mood, dropping off a deep cliff?
Actually, it normally feels awkward in the beginning, but, do you believe, when I was traveling I was more self-controlled compared to when I was working.
Every day I woke up around 8 am, sometimes even earlier, and slept before 11 pm. The regular routine is like military service. After breakfast, I started strolling through a foreign city or some mountains – which was more like hiking. There is one thing that’s always the same everyday during traveling : I walked 5 to 6 hours, sometimes even carrying a backpack of more than 10 kg, but it’s a piece of cake. My abdomen grew so much that I started looking like a bodybuilder.
Through walking, I tried to leave my footprints in every corner of the place I visited, to see everything in person, to get a shot of the scenery. Some things I saw are good parts, some are miserable parts. I wanted to see the different faces of my destination, more than the beautiful package that’s sold to tourists. They are nice, yes, good to take photos of and show your friends, post on Facebook, but they don’t capture the smell of life. I wanted to feel the real life of the persons living there, overlapping and extending the historical and cultural microcosm, stepping on past, present and future of the place that I have been to.
It’s like learning from the world. Different opinions and ideas, cultural differences… I am gradually adjusting my values to reflect, reflecting on my past lack of international experience. I ask myself, which of these experiences can I take home as nutrients for my community.
What can I offer?
Seeing, hearing and feeling the journey has enriched me. I walked, saw and noted down all the things that I wanted to do once I settle back into a normal life. With the journey near the end, I felt the inevitable sadness, but looking at my to-do list, my mind was calm and clear.
My journey is over, but now it’s time to start another effort for a new beginning. For all the things that I couldn’t do while traveling. For the past that I’ve been through, the present that I want to change and the future that I look forward to.
“Travel is not psychotherapy, it gives us only the illusion of change.” I think, if you are unsure of what you want, your past travel experience could easily become a block, trapping you and make you forget to move on.
Is travel just to divert attention, or to change perspective? It is only able to be told when the journey ends.
Then I realised I felt the sense of lingering guilt which is from other law-abiding people, who, like a little gear, work in society, and I really appreciated their effort. Because of them, we can travel so free and with so much convenience. So, after I returned from my journey, like the migrating salmon from the sea, I immediately joined the workforce again, working step by step towards my next goal.
I really love traveling, but also love staying at home the whole day. These are both sides of me, and I enjoy it.