My parents are planning a backpacking trip of seven months to Asia and Australia/New Zealand. I’m planning one week of long-distance walking/hiking on the east coast of England. That’s called perspective.
Or maybe payback.
After all, they are retired, have worked all their lives, are still supporting most of their five children, have always been there for us, have always encouraged us and, damn it, they deserve it. They deserve to have a wonderful, adventure-filled, fun-filled trip of a lifetime!
And I am unemployed and can’t get up the drive or passion to put any of my dozens of scintillating, amazing, new, interesting ideas into action. So it’s only fair.
But I’m filled with envy. It’s irrational, it’s definitely beneath me and I feel ashamed about it, but it’s the truth. I wish I could go. I wish I could just pack my trusty old red backpack, throw in the essentials and go.
I did travel to Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand. Years ago. Straight after school. I was nineteen. I loved it, I met interesting people, I ran out of money and ate nothing but cheap pasta for weeks, I had an accident both with a kangaroo and a cow (no, I wasn’t driving!), I swam in huge waves coming straight from the Antarctic a day before Christmas and it was all great. Except that I was nineteen and morbidly afraid of doing anything touristy for the fear of being thought a tourist. Or a lemming, following the crowd.
Yes, I’m aware that’s a stupid thought. It ruled the whole seven months of my trip, however. Why am I telling you this? I just wanted to make a case for me going on a similar trip again. I’m eleven years older and wiser, I know more about the world, I’m not afraid anymore of being thought of as pushing myself in or intruding when I talk to strangers. I’m much better equipped for a trip like that than I was.
I won’t be going though. Instead my parents are researching flights, car rentals, train connections, things to see and do, are arranging people to meet on the road, friends to visit in Australia and sending off visa applications to the embassy of India (and applying for electronic visa for several other countries).
Yes, I’m envious as hell. Yes, I will definitely do a trip like that again as soon as I can.
But you know something else? I’m also IMMENSELY proud of my parents. It takes patience and guts and perseverance and healthy doses of both wanderlust and an avid interest in the world and in other people to plan and then do a trip like this and they are doing it. The planning is stressing them. A lot. But they keep on and they spend the whole day every day for a week now reading and arranging and planning and researching, right through their high stress and adrenaline levels. So I’m proud of them. And that cancels out the envy.
I’ll be off now to pack hiking boots and rain jackets for England…
P.S. Any tips for travelling in Dubai, India, Nepal, Hongkong, (maybe Singapur somewhere in there as well), Australia and New Zealand?
P.P.S. Anyone done the Peddars Way/Norfolk Coast Path in autumn before?