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January 1, 2013

New Year’s Resolutions for the Vagabond

With the New Year upon us, thoughts naturally turn to new beginnings, the continuation of the adventure and living the next phase with intentionality and purpose. For those of us with tendencies toward the vagabond life, may I suggest three resolutions to guide your journey?
From my family, on the fringe of the jungles of Borneo on the coast of the South China Sea, to you and yours, the very happiest of new years, and may you find joy in the journey, no matter where your feet take you.
1. Be Where You Are

Travel has very little to do with location. The reality is, that we are all traveling, all the time. Some of us just move around more than others. What we love about “travel” is the newness, the adventure, the heightening of our senses by exploring the unexpected and the freedom from our every day routine. When we’re “home” we’re desensitized by the familiar. We cease to really “see” our surroundings, the beauty of our culture and the  adventure all around us.

As anyone who’s been on the road for a long time will tell you, “home” can be found anywhere, as can the excitement of “travel.” It’s all about perception. It happens inside your own head.

Instead of living for the next adventure, or spending the time you’re on it longing for home, strive, this year, to simply be where you are. Open your eyes and your heart, at home and abroad and you’ll find that life is one big trip of epic proportions.

 2. Pack Less Stuff

You make that resolution every time you travel, and yet, you’re struggling with baggage at every turn. Forget a roller bag if you’re traveling anywhere outside the first world. What do you really need? Well, “need” is relative, but for us, on a long haul trip: 3 outfits, including the one you’re wearing, the pair of shoes on your feet, a jacket, your journal and a camera. Nada Mas. Put that in a bag and take a two mile walk. How do you feel? Add to it if you must, but make sure you can still comfortably carry it for several miles. I promise you that frustration on the road is in direct proportion to the amount of crap you’re trying to move from place to place.

Freedom is found in minimalism.

3. Quit Comparing

Just quit it. Opt out of the culture of “bigger, better, faster, or slower.” It’s not about who’s been to more places, ticked off the continents faster, has been on the road longer, or speaks more languages. It’s not about the number of flags you’ve collected, or mountains you’ve climbed, literally, or figuratively.

Of course it’s natural to talk about our journeys with other travelers, but we’ve all sat in the hostel common with the blow-hard who’s on about the number of places he’s kite surfed in his ten year career as beach bum and watched the crestfallen face of the girl who’s on her third week of twelve who really thought people would be excited to hear about her journey. Be excited to hear about her journey. Those first days, weeks, heck, from my perspective even years on the road are life changing in a way that we sometimes lose sight of later. If you’re that girl, your journey is no less than his, in fact, it may well be more.

Instead of fulfilling the burning desire to trump everyone in the room with your fantastic travel record, how ‘bout shutting up and listening more?

In my experience, there is much to learn from each person we meet, if we have the humility to submit ourselves to their tutelage.

Posted by | Comments (3) 
Category: General, Vagabonding Advice, Vagabonding Life


3 Responses to “New Year’s Resolutions for the Vagabond”

  1. Skiorganizers Says:

    Jenny, Happy new year to you! Great new year’s resolutions. I really hope we all can make this resolution possible. One of my resolutions this year is to travel more. Maybe travel to Asia is really great.

  2. Will Jackson - The Bearded Wanderer Says:

    That’s all extremely sound advice.

  3. Jennifer Miller Says:

    Thanks folks! Happy New Years to you as well! Journey on!

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