a traveler’s state of mind

Some of our friends showing off on Lago Llanquihue.

I’m reflecting on traveling a bit.  I’m thinking a lot about the ideal way to travel.  How fast do you go?  How long do you stay places (two days or two weeks)?  Where do you stay (hostel, couchsurf, volunteer)?  Is there a “Goldilocks” solution?  I guess I’m leaning towards no…

Before we left on this trip I would often say something like, “we’re going to travel slowly, with no itinerary” and, “we’ll stay places until we no longer want to be there.”  And I think these things are still true, but in my mind I was always thinking that longer would be better.  I thought that previous trips were flawed because I moved too fast.  I’m discovering that it’s more nuanced than that.  After two weeks in Frutillar, I was ready for a change of pace.  And after 6 days in Bariloche, I’m feeling the exact same.  Each situation is unique, and it can be really frustrating!  I want there to be a perfect, universal solution to travel.  Instead, we’re often too hot or too cold.

I’m also thinking a lot about the traveler’s state of mind.  Mostly I’m thinking about how you manage new friendships, and the inevitable goodbye.  Traveling friendships are an intense experience.  You find yourself attached to people unreasonably fast.  You share meals with them (I really do need to share more meals back home), drink with them, do activities with them, and even sleep in the same room as them.  After 4-5 days it’s somewhat painful to leave that.  I think this contributes to travelers getting “stuck.”  When you find yourself in a great situation, with great people, a 2 day stay can easily extend to 2 weeks.  Meeting new people is one of the most rewarding parts of travel, but with 10+ months ahead of us I wonder if we’ll grow tired of the cycle.

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One thought on “a traveler’s state of mind

  1. Hi Craig,
    I can relate to your post about travel friendships being quick and intense and the pain sometimes of letting them go when you go your own ways. When your Mom and I traveled through Europe for three months we made that same kind of quick friends and sometimes ran back into friends we had made earlier on our trip, but not often. We exchanged addresses with some and even sent/received a few pieces of mail later after we returned home. When we would part from our new friends and be alone together traveling to whatever new city or country we decided to head to I often felt a bit melancholy to not have their company any more. These feelings didn’t last long because soon we were at a new hostel in a new city meeting some new interesting people. Staying a bit longer or even going back to some favorite places made me feel comfortable when I got travel-weary and it sounds like you have had both travel-weariness and the experience of returning to a favorite place for some rest. Since you have a whole year to see the continent it seems you have time to get “stuck” if you both want to.
    Godspeed and travel safe,
    Godmother S

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