Today I can finally say that most of my next backpacking plans are sorted – I have “To do” lists on my wall, I have a general route in my head, I am very excited and cannot wait till I’m on the plane going out there for my new, this time biggest and longest, adventure of my life.
But I remember how hard it was the first time. Looking back at myself then, I was just a shy and lost office worker, often thinking about getting out there, laughing at this idea and putting it back aside. “Maybe someday…” is what I used to tell myself.
You are your biggest enemy
Humans are very interesting. They moan all the time about how unhappy they are, they even know what would make them happy, but they never do anything. They go back to their lives which they hate, live through another day, and go to a pub to complain about it again. It’s all adaptability. We cope with doing what we do not like in life by adapting. Just imagine how much dreams and goals people hide under the phrase “Maybe someday…”.
But life works miracles – every now and then it throws you a bone, an idea, plan or an opportunity to do what you want. It puts you in a position where there are no more obstacles in your way between yourself and your dream. Maybe it makes you tired of your current lifestyle and you know you have to change, maybe you win a plane ticket to Nepal, maybe someone offers you a job you dreamed of but never had a chance to try it out. Or maybe you just finally get to know how to accomplish what you always wanted. So there you are, you just need to stretch your arm and take it. But you cannot, because you are afraid to let go. You are your final obstacle, the final enemy that you need to defeat. People make excuses why something will not work out without even trying it. We have to make that leap, otherwise, we will be blaming ourselves forever.
Deceiving myself into Backpacking
I have to say, no matter how many times you would prove to yourself that what you doing is right, you will still feel hesitation. People over-think stuff. It was the same for me before my first backpacking trip. I had everything sorted – I would go first to a hostel to work in exchange for a bed, I would have time to get information about backpacking and plan my own journey, I could stay to work in the hostel if I would get afraid to go on my own. And I had an agency who got me all the contacts I needed and all the information. It was bullet proof. But I was afraid.
I kept on making excuses and finding new problems day after day. But then a thought came to my mind – I have to trick myself into going. I knew myself very well – I understood how hard it is to earn money, I knew what hard work is, so I thought, if I just buy the tickets I will have to go. More than that, I knew that in Malaysia I am allowed to stay 3 months, so I figured that I have to buy the return ticket in advance with a date further than 3 months after my arrival. This was to make me leave the hostel if I would chicken out as I would, at least, need to make one visa run then.
Now all I needed was a bit of courage. Long story short, one night after I got back from having a few too many pints with my friends I just sat down and arranged the plane tickets with a return date further than 3 months, I confirmed my plans with the hostel owner and just went to sleep. Oh, I had a very evil smile on my face when I thought how will it freak me out the next morning. But it didn’t. I woke up happier than ever – I knew that I am finally doing it. I heard a very good phrase in some movie: often you have to take that chance and hope that it will lead to something good. And it did, it was the best decision in my life.
Overcoming the final obstacle
The deception worked perfectly – I was in Malaysia, almost 9.000 kilometres away from my hometown. The culture differences were stunning, the food was amazing, every day was like an adventure. And there I was again, thinking of all the new problems I could get into if I would leave the hostel to go backpacking. Again, everything was within arms-reach, but I just kept hesitating.
But this time, I did not need to trick myself into anything. A few days passed by as I watched all the backpackers that came and left in my hostel. They shared their experience, their destinations. The only thing I could see was their eyes – happiness, joy, adventure. I found peace in their stories and got the motivation I needed. I think backpackers are a very happy kind of people. They understand the bigger meaning of life and they enjoy it more than anyone else. Needless to say, I packed my backpack, thanked the hostel owner for the opportunity and went to Indonesia. And that was the beginning of a whole new way of life for me, a start of something great.