I stumbled upon (literally) a blog today discussing the ways to go about traveling for free. After perusing the list of relatively practical approaches, I read a follow up article defending some of the claims the author made in the first one. (Corresponding websites are linked.)
The combination of these two pieces really put me in a go-do-something mood. I want to be a vagabond! I want to ditch this commercial lifestyle and the "achieve-success-for-future-success's sake" mindset that I've been born into. I want to traverse the outbacks and forests and sands and mountains. I want to revert to the barter system: I want to help people and have them help me. I want to meet new people and return to the world my parents grew up in, where we aren't constantly afraid of trusting strangers. I want to travel with these strangers, eat with strangers, sleep on strangers' couches, and build up contacts from all parts of the globe, covering all social classes and ethnicities. And I want to stay in touch with them. I want to be able to call them up when I get off a train in a random city and have a place to sleep.
I want to have an amazing crowd at my funeral.
Don't call me an idealist until you've read those two articles... and don't call me an idealist after that either. I'll disagree with you, because I want to think it's all possible.
On second thought, I've done it before. The absolute uncontested highlight of my life thus far was my trip to Europe over the summer of 2007. I went with complete strangers and they all turned into great friends. I still keep in touch with a ton of them who live across the country, even my 3 counselors (I just wish I met more Europeans...) I was free that summer. It was a month long but I had such a great time. We slept on the ground and ate only what we could make for 17 people out of a pot, pan and 2 petroleon stoves. It wasn't a comfortable trip, but I can't even describe in words how amazing it was. I guess that is evidence backing the main idea of that second article... I didnt need my "American life" there. All I needed was my nalgene, a few euro coins, and a ride.
Here are a few photos that really ebody this spirit I want to regain.
I'm going to the Netherlands with my sister this summer and I'm going to get the chance to envelope myself in this lifestyle for a little bit (two weeks.) I'm super excited now. But what about after that? I'm going to college, and when I get out of college I'll get a job (doing god knows what...) But what if I'd rather take a break after college? Maybe I should have done it before college... I guess I'll have to wait now. We've all got time.
I guess I'm going to need to start saving for airfare... the rest I want to leave to manipulate on my own when necessary... a few years from now.