Contemplations on backpacking

A part of me wants to stop moving from place to place so quickly I give myself little chance myself the chance to develop a community.

Community.

It’s something that’s been on my mind a lot as I consider backpacking for a year or two. There is a loose gathering of characters in the travel community. The internet bringing us a little closer together as we travel the world. Nonetheless it’s a difficult decision for me personally to leave behind (again) the very small community I have on American soil.

So backpacking, yes, I want to backpack. It’s a crazy dream that will not get out of my head. I dipped my toes into backpacking last summer with a month-ish or so in Malaysia and Indonesia. While easily one of the best decisions, I’ve ever made it wasn’t without it’s trials. For one thing, the road can be lonely. This time backpacking will kick off with a week in Hong Kong with Linda, an excellent friend from South Korea, who is as much fun to party with as she is to learn with. I have every expectation we will be decent travel companions; so long as she has her shopping, and I have my museums.

After Hong Kong, I want to continue the journey. It’s nonsensical to spend more than a grand on a ticket to go somewhere for a week to me. Currently I’m devising a plan and budget to stay in Hong Kong for two weeks. However my dream is to hop on over to Singapore for an undecided amount of time before taking the train to Kuala Lumpur. Then moving on to Penang for at least a week. (Although Georgetown is kind of my dream vacation home city.) Then when I feel the time is right continue on to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. In my dreams, this excellent plan is most awesome because I will be in Southeast Asia enjoying it all for three months or more. Then I could continue on to South Korea, seeing old friends, make my way to Taiwan, the Philippines and wherever else my soul fancies before eventually settling down somewhere.

But out there on the road, it’s tough. It is not a walk in the park by any means, it’s stressful utterly delightful, but not without it’s annoyances: lack of electricity, lack of indoor plumbing, always feeling foreign, lack of companionship, pressure to be polite, demands to be outgoing. General human things that are so much easier to handle when I have a home, a place to call my own.

It’s a conundrum, or rather, a choice. I can picture a perfect set of circumstances with a permanent travel companion and plenty of money without requiring the need to write from the road which would make me run out the door now and buy the first plane ticket out of the country. But that is pipe dream. I’m positive of my own solo adventures and poverty, so wishing to change either of those circumstances will not happen quickly and without serious effort. I know I’m moving, I just don’t know where. And I’m starting to feel as though I need a PLAN.

I forget sometimes that I had a plan. Then that got fucked.

And this is just what’s been happening since Plan A became Plan F.

I know I’m happy writing, I know I enjoy having a home, a place to build a community. But I also know I struggle with Salt Lake City’s extremes, it’s quiet streets, it’s empty restaurants, it’s 1 a.m. closing time. Little things that add up to big things, making me want to find a new place to call home.

I don’t know if that home is the road, a new community or just a new apartment.

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