How do you react when people say that they do not enjoy traveling? Back in Sweden, my mother had an ancient relative whose constant refrain was “Why should I travel? Wherever I go will end up being the same as here.” The fact that she would even ask the question and utter her yawn-inducing claim proved to me that she had never done much traveling herself. If you are reading this you are most likely a traveler or vagabonder yourself or you may have an interest in being one. You understand the pleasure in traveling. To revel in that pleasure a little and to remember why vagabonding is so transformational I thought we’d look at some of the advantages of vagabonding.
For starters, let’s define vagabonding. Ralph Potts, in his book Vagabonding, quotes the following definition: “(1) The act of leaving behind the orderly world to travel independently for an extended period of time. (2) A privately meaningful manner of travel that emphasizes creativity, adventure, awareness, simplicity, discovery, independence, realism, self-reliance, and the growth of the spirit. (3) A deliberate way of living that makes freedom to travel possible.”
LEAVING THE ORDERLY WORLD BEHIND – this has to happen in life. Just as we need rest as part of our regular life rhythm, we have to leave the tyranny of familiar structure behind from time to time. It really should be a law. Order is good in many ways but if we get too accustomed to seeing the world in one way, we start to lose the ability to be creative and to imagine what could be.
FOR AN EXTENDED AMOUNT OF TIME – I know from personal experience that it is impossible to get the full benefits of oversees travel when you are only gone for a week or two. To truly soak up the atmosphere and start to appreciate life in a different country and context, you have to actually live there. I have found a period of 3-6 months to be ideal if you are trying to discover a city or region.
A PRIVATELY MEANINGFUL MANNER OF TRAVEL – This is key to understanding the beauty of the vagabonding experience: It is highly personal. Only you can know what your natural rhythms are outside the crap that gets thrown at you in the hustle and bustle of work and general existence at home. Vagabonding is about deliberately escaping all that for a generous amount of time and taking a closer look at life, free from the distraction of chaotic routine.
EMPHASIZING CREATIVITY, ADVENTURE, AWARENESS, SIMPLICITY, DISCOVERY, INDEPENDENCE, REALISM, SELF-RELIANCE, AND THE GROWTH OF THE SPIRIT – This laundry list of benefits may seem like a lot to digest but they really define the vagabonding experience. I challenge you to read that list and see if there is any part of it that you do not find extremely attractive. Wouldn’t you want these traits to define you?
A DELIBERATE WAY OF LIVING THAT MAKES FREEDOM TO TRAVEL POSSIBLE – Priceless.
And there you have it, if you are already a vagabonder, congratulations. If not, its not too late to get off your rear and live a richer life.