Vagabonding Case Study: Raymond Walsh
Hometown: St. John’s, Newfoundland, CANADA
Quote: “Cover the earth before it covers you.”
How did you find out about Vagabonding, and how did you find it useful before and during the trip?
I’ve had a hard copy of Vagabonding for years, and have a digital copy on my Kindle now. I used it (and still use it) mostly for inspiration more than for practical advice. It just feeds the wanderlust.
How long were you on the road?
I’m still on the road, although I do prefer slower travel now. Basing myself in a city for a few months then exploring the region works much better for me.
Where did you go?
Since leaving my corporate job behind I’ve been to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, South Africa, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Poland, Mexico, and the good old US of A.
What was your job or source of travel funding for this journey?
I had some money saved to see me through the start, but I run a few travel websites now and do some freelance writing so that pays the bills.
Did you work or volunteer on the road?
I worked online so all I needed was a Wi-Fi connection and I was good to go.
Of all the places you visited, which was your favorite?
That’s always such a difficult question. I used to have a quote from the movie Harvey on my desk when I worked a regular job that read, “I always have a wonderful time, wherever I am, whomever I’m with.” I think just about every destination offers something that no other can, but there are many places I’m keen to revisit. If I had to pick a couple of favorites, I’d go with Thailand, Jordan, and Oman.
Was there a place that was your least favorite, or most disappointing, or most challenging?
Vietnam was both spectacular and rough at the same time. The first overnight sleeper bus I took ended up striking and killing a woman on a moped. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever seen.
Which travel gear proved most useful? Least useful?
The most useful thing I brought was a smartphone. It’s great for maps, taking notes, photos, checking email, booking hotel rooms, and keeping in contact. Least useful thing I brought was a package of water purification tablets. Unless you’re doing a lot of trekking in the jungle, you probably won’t need them.
What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle?
Not being tied down by “stuff” or “things.” Having incredible experiences in places I’ve only dreamed of. And meeting people from all walks of life changes you for the better.
What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle?
I’d say the biggest sacrifice came down to friends and family. Yes, you do meet plenty of folks while traveling, but it’s hard sometimes when you miss milestones like birthdays, weddings, or even just dinners with your loved ones.
What lessons did you learn on the road?
I learned that no matter where you go, people are generally on your side. I learned that there are many different travel styles, and it’s up to you to decide which one suits you best. I learned that it can actually be cheaper to live a life a travel than a life of staying put. And I learned that I don’t need to fit into someone else’s idea of what my life should look like.
How did your personal definition of “vagabonding” develop over the course of the trip?
I started out with a feeling of “I have to see everything NOW!” I had to learn to slow down, and once I did I was able to enjoy it all so much more.
If there was one thing you could have told yourself before the trip, what would it be?
Just because you can’t see the path in front of you doesn’t mean the ground won’t support you. Things have a way of working out, and worry is just extra baggage you don’t need.
Any advice or tips for someone hoping to embark on a similar adventure?
I give this advice to all travellers: Be not afraid. Most people are there to help, not to harm. Be not judgmental. It’s not wrong, it’s just different. Be not an ass. Remember, you are a guest.
When and where do you think you’ll take your next long-term journey?
I’d like to pick up the pace a little more mid 2015 and see more of Asia and South America. And the Stans. They’re not going to see themselves.
|Website: Man On The Lam||Twitter: @manonthelam|
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