When You Stop Being a Traveller

There comes a day in all our lives, when one day, you stop being a traveller.
You have a home, or at least a place you call home, you have friends, a job and you don’t really mind not living out of a bag anymore. So, your bag ends up in the basement next to your hiking poles, your all weather sleeping bag, that bandana that once looked like such a good idea, the boxes of pictures you haven’t looked at in 20 years and that shelf of out dated guidebooks that once taught you how to buy ice cream in Hanoi or find a doctor in Delhi.
It’s what your life once was and now, for whatever reason, now isn’t.
So now it’s city trips with a significant other, it’s looking for the easy flight to the sensible destination where you will eat predictable food. You stay in hotels and drink bottled water. If you are really settled, you might even look for hotels with stars and restaurants with reviews. You will really see the sites and savour the scenery because now, you are an adult and you are responsible and you can afford to. You don’t travel any more; you have “experiences” and have earned bragging rights back home while you sip white wine around the fireplace with your equally experienced friends.
It’s not bad, this kind of life. Not really. After all, was there that much glamour in not washing for three weeks, wearing the same pants for a month, staying in a hostel where the roaches are bigger than your left foot but at least the room has a fan and the toilet flushes. The eternal pain of carrying an increasingly heavy backpack through the pouring rain in the middle of the Himalayas in November because somewhere, at the end of this road, there is a stunning view just as long as you get there by 4 am. The late nights of hanging about railway stations, the greasy snacks wrapped in newspaper and one day, just one day, when you don’t have to sleep standing up in a rickety bus that is taking you somewhere. Not quite sure where,exactly, but it seemed like a good idea 24 hours ago. You met people who you’ll never see again, made memories and love with faces that you can no longer remember. But no matter how miserable you felt, you always swore you would never trade it in, not for one second of being safe.
Ha. Caught you. Of course you did. We all did. Because backpacking at 40 isn’t what it was when you were 20. And the kids at the hostel with the roaches look at you funny and call you “gran” behind your back. And all you have left to tell them is how it used to be. Eventually-except for the incredibly brave-most of us quit and face up to the fact that we really do hate roaches and sleeping in buses really does suck.
But once you have tasted that life, it never really leaves you. It jiggles around at the back of your mind like the memory of sore thumb – kind of there and you don’t want to feel it again, but it never quite leaves you no matter how many years have passed. So you turn 40 and now get your kicks with good trips to nice destinations where the most miserable thing that will happen is your taxi won’t be air conditioned.
If you are expecting to read about places which are safe, stop reading now. If you want me to tell you where to stay in Zanzibar, buy yourself a guidebook. I can’t tell you what you like and I won’t even try. Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor will help you far more than I can. I collect impressions, I look for the unusual, I find that little thing that made travelling 10’000 miles worth it. And sometimes, I find things right outside my door that everyone else takes for granted.  I do not aim to please you, my dear reader, I do not want to be your travel guru and I am not going to show you my pictures of leaping gazelles. This is not a one stop shop for your next holiday. I see the world in my own way. Just like you should.
So, welcome to Odd Guides where you never know what might be lurking on the next page.

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