In 1986 I set out to see the world. I left behind my friends, family, and country. New Zealand was and remains a relatively small group of islands. What I didn’t realize at the time was just how spectacularly gorgeous the place is. I had to traipse all over the world trying to top what I had at home.
It couldn’t be done. Came close; never succeeded.
I am still trying and enjoying every moment
Of course there are other beautiful places in the world but with a bias towards the country of my youth; other scenic wonders simply enhance the picture I have in my mind of New Zealand and then get compared to it.
A day after I left Auckland I landed in Los Angeles.
Green at travel I was immediately overwhelmed by a sense of euphoria. It would be fair to say I have chased that feeling ever since; trying to replicate it. I swear it was like a drug. A big bug had bitten me and the desire to travel surged through me; never once abating, to this day.
To say that travel became my passion would be understating its importance.
The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my travels, plain and simple. In doing so I hope to recapture and share an era of budget travel that truly meant dropping off the face of the earth for months, sometimes years, at a time. Receiving mail at the post restante a month after it was hand written. This old news brought with it a warmth and closeness to friends and family as they explained in detail the news that had been missed.
That seems diluted by todays immediate, single-thought type of communication stream.
You would then write back knowing the chances of them receiving it were 50/50 at best…and when; well that was up to the postal Gods.
In 1998 I got my first email account.
The next day I got an email. I was disappointed in how I had become electronically connected. I think I knew that this would be the way it was going to be; from that moment on.
Telephone calls were expensive and communication of any kind was a lengthy process. I remember sitting in a telephone bank in Yangon, Burma for 2 days waiting for my call to go through. Once you were connected you had three minutes. At exactly three minutes you were cut off. That’s all anyone was allowed.
There was no such thing as booking a room ahead, booking transport ahead; it was all done once you arrived. The plan was to find a place to sleep and then, take it from there. A budget traveler was out in the world with no familiarity except those others that were doing the exact same thing.
There remains today a spirit of camaraderie between travelers but it is different.
Cell phones, iPads, iPods, laptops, Skype; all new and all adding to the dilution of freedom in the big wide world. Don’t get me wrong, I too travel now with a netbook which has Skype and I fully utilize Wi-Fi when it is available.
To me, the romance of freedom and departing comfort zone familiarity has been diminished. The differences in the people and cultures of the world, although still vast, have lessened.
In its place is globalization. Good for economy’s, good for business, good for most people…not so great for being lost in the euphoria of freedom that is the bi-product of travel where days and dates mean very little.
I continue to travel.