I had no plans of writing an epilogue, but after letting my thoughts ferment in my head for a while, a few ideas stood out and I decided I would share them. There must be something to take away from this trip after all. It will be brief.
It’s unbelievable how much stuff we accumulate over the years. I especially realized this a few days prior to leaving for my trip as I vacated my apartment in Montreal (I am moving to Toronto in case you were not aware). I decided to donate or throw 80% of what I owned, and was left with 2 small boxes of “stuff”. The bigger realization came after my trip; I had travelled for a month and lived off less than 9kgs of belongings (including the backpack, the iPad, and the super thick guidebook). I could have continued for another month or even a whole year with that same backpack. Maybe we grow accustomed to all the junk, then fool ourselves into thinking it’s essential.
In a world where we have to constantly set goals, 5yr plans, organize our days efficiently so as to not waste precious minutes, etc. It’s obvious that we are missing out an element of randomness. But it may not be as apparent as you go through your daily routine. At least, it wasn’t for me. Over the course of my trip, it’s now obvious that I enjoyed myself several times more during unexpected events than I did during the ones I had previously planned. It would be a little stupid to say that I should plan on including more randomness in my life. Instead, maybe we’re better off avoiding micromanagement and leaving some moments free of any plans or expectations.
Comfort is amazing. It feels so good. I’m talking about the state of mind rather than the physical sensation. As expected, I didn’t have much of it during my trip. Anytime I would start feeling comfortable in a city (generally by day 3) I’d have to pack my bags and start all over again in the next city. It turns out this is not so bad. Yes, it’s true that I was discovering beautiful Europe, but I had no home, no friends, and no bearing points nonetheless. And I think that it is this discomfort that pushed me to do stuff I would have never had the insight / courage / openness (or other appropriate noun) to do had I been in the comfort of my home city. We are very adaptable. Maybe being outside of our comfort zone pushes us to act faster, learn faster, grow faster.
The Nomadic Life
This one is just awesome. Every three days, changing cities, changing beds, changing environments, changing people, etc. Definitely no time to get bored. If only life could go on at such a pace. Not much to say other than this was way more fun and exciting than anticipated. Just arriving in a new place would get me all excited about all the opportunities to come.
I encountered all types of people during my trip. Towards the end, I was always eager to start conversations with all strangers who were open to it. Maybe, it would become another several hours long intense chat that leads to a friend, a lover, a business opportunity; or maybe I’d have to find another creative way to gently express my epic boredom, and then smoothly run away as far as I could. But I’d give a hundred experiences of the latter for a single one of the former. And you’d be surprised how easy it is to start a conversation. No need to think too much about it and analyze it, just go! Quoting Forrest Gump and his mom, meeting people (and, of course, “life”) is like a box of chocolate. Assuming chocolates’s appeal is universal, maybe it’s best to dig into that box and pick as many chocolate pieces as we can.*
* Please, this is a metaphor about “meeting strangers”! Don’t go gorging yourself with chocolates because I said so.
This post is part of a series on my 2011 eurotrip, check out the whole series here