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Seven Months of Slow Travel

It's been over seven months on the road now and, to be honest, I am as surprised by this number as anyone. I originally planned to travel for five months tops and go home with the small fortune I made in China relatively intact. But after meeting so many people with so many stories about so many interesting places, the plan slowly slipped away and I found myself moving much slower through places I never even planned to visit.
One month in Laos and Cambodia turned into two. One month traveling the south of China turned into three, and an unexpected stop in Burma added another thirty days to the agenda. Now I am over seven months in and I haven't even made it to indonesia. 
I guess I have to come to realize the benefits of taking my time. I made the mistake of moving too fast on my last trip through Europe and I did not want to make that mistake again. Anybody can see a country in a week, but it takes much more time to experience a country and I am always surprised by the diversity I find in even the smallest of areas. The map of the world today, drawn primarily by colonial powers in the last few hundred years and maintained by ideas of national identity which are typically superficially linked to the true historical origin of various cultures, is a poor indication of the real cultural diversity which exists throughout any given region. Although people of the same country may speak the same language and are conditioned by the same popular media and education, I have found the diversity within a country can be just as striking as the contrasts between countries. Thus, I think it's important to take closer look where ever one ventures. 
The flip side of moving so slow, however, is that I am starting to run out of money and energy. Most of the time I feel strong enough to go on for another seven months but with all the sicknesses and ailments which come with backpacking starting to wear on me, there are times of weakness when I feel like getting on a plane back to Canada tomorrow. 
The honeymoon period I experienced at the beginning of my trip is long gone and life on the road has become somewhat normal. My home is now an endless stream of dorm rooms, guesthouses and bus seats. My friends are the people I happen to meet on any given day and my job is to find and organize interesting things to see and do. Certainly not a bad way to spend my time but it can wear on you after a while and Im finding it more difficult to stay interested. 
Since I began traveling I have felt like I am constantly chasing this euphoric feeling. Its like a travel drug. I get a fix when I experience something truly unique or see something awe inspiring. It comes and goes with the interesting or special people that I meet and sometimes it just appears randomly in the most bizarre situations. The problem is that as I spend more time on the road, this feeling becomes more and more elusive. It takes a lot more to feel impressed by anything. I am so addicted to this drug that I am constantly in need a bigger fix to produce the same effects but I find myself getting a bit lazy.
So I feel like I am waiting for a second wind. If want to continue traveling, I guess I need to work harder to keep myself engaged. I need to search out some truly unique experiences. Push myself to try things I have never done before. Further remove myself from my element. It seems like the only way to keep things new and exciting. To keep the travel drug flowing. I am hoping with it's Islamic tradition and diverse wilderness Indonesia is a good place to start. Because as much as I am feeling a little worn out at times, I am simply not ready to go home. 

Posted by bradenelsewhere 07:27

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