I sat in the train defeated. In a way it was the first time during the course of my travels that something didn’t go as planned. I felt miserable. Was it a mistake? I looked out the window up to distanced mountain peaks and remembered the old smartass quote: ‘Dude, there are no mistakes in life, only lessons’.
When I think about it now it wasn’t such a big deal, but at that time it made me so disappointed.
Something over three weeks passed since I got home after one and half year (read more). By the end of May I wanted to hit the road again. I knew it would become dangerous if I stay longer. I would become secured. The idea that I’m living in the well-known environment, surrounded by old friends, finding a career job, knowing the language, traditions, stereotypes. I would get easily accustomed and most likely I would easily find rational reasons why to accept the new reality.
As you might know, we people are masters in coming up with bunch of reasons to justify our decisions. I would probably say something like steady income, hanging out with best friends or finally career in the field I studied. But that is not what I came back with, and for. I came back with the resolution (read more) that I won’t take any paid job in 2017 and give way to traveling. Believe me, for this it is even easier to find the bunch of reasons.
As ambitious as it may sound, I wanted to prove that it’s actually not that hard. I wanted to prove to people and to myself that the most of the life’s pleasures are for free and that traveling in a certain way can be much cheaper than our comfortable living surrounded by TVs and cars.
I didn’t plan much, but I had a secret desire to get to Fagaras mountains in Romania. Besides, my only obligation was to be back in August for my friend’s wedding and my father’s 60th birthday. The main idea was to be self-sufficient so I packed all sleeping gear including the tent as well as cooking gear, clothes for mountains as well as for beaches. That is why the second main idea to go on light quickly failed.
The first day I hitchhiked to Trnava in Slovakia without problems. The second day it took me more than one and half hour to stop a car towards Nitra. The driver was really cool, even though he talked about himself most of the time. He talked that much that he passed Nitra and took me all the way to Banska Bystrica, over 120 km furher away. I doubt he planned to go to Nitra at first place, I guess he just needed a listener while he tested his brand new Volkswagen Golf. What a lucky ride I thought.
In Banska Bystrica I arranged a natural couchsurfing. My friend’s brother Tomas has never seen me before which didn’t bother him too much while he hosted me in his home, took me for the trip to Banska Stiavnica and showed me hipster pubs in town. Thank you!
Here a bit of Slovak insight. As far as I’m concerned, there is the highest concentration of beautiful girls in Banska Bystrica. Unfortunately, no photo regarding to this matter provided, thus reason to come to see it yourself. However, I came here to do hiking, not picking up. We should all focus on things we are good at anyway. So the next day I set up for the five-day hike on the range of Low Tatras.
I was enjoying mountain views, sunny weather and the time for clearing my mind. But then, during the second day of walking, I realized that something’s wrong. I started imagining myself rather somewhere else, in some nice coffee place sipping cappuccinos watching the street life. Later on that day I decided to quit and I thought of reasons why.
Either it was too heavy backpack which wasn’t built for such a load and causing me pain or it was too close to my home and I didn’t feel as exotic as while hiking in New Zealand. Either I was way out of my comfort zone and I didn’t quite enjoy it or I thought about the girl I started dating back home and left behind. All these arguments I came up with sounded reasonable. We are masters in coming up with bunch of reasons remember?
Yet the most powerful argument why I quit was the lack of meaning. What did I think? Mountains and beaches? Budget 10€ a day? Self-sufficiency over the light weight? To spend two months traveling without a plan only to kill time until August? Nope, nothing meaningful enough to keep me going.
Maybe I’ve become too comfortable, maybe I got intoxicated by the secured reality. Maybe I missed the girl, maybe I needed something bigger, maybe I should have gone to Canada. I got the one year working visa couple months ago which kinda changed the gameplan and guaranteed the next big step. Whatever it was, I couldn’t imagine myself hiking in Romania with these thoughts and unsuitable backpack so I quit.
I sat on the train defeated. In a way it was the first time during the course of my travels that something didn’t go as planned. I felt miserable. Was it a mistake? I looked out the window up to distanced mountain peaks and remembered the old smartass quote: ‘Dude, there are no mistakes in life, only lessons’.
Enlightened from this lesson, I looked for a backup plan. Due to my resolution and the Canada plan, finding a job is not really an option neither a solution. With an on-going travel insurance I won’t stay home either. My little crises will only solve a cheap flight ticket.
That’s how I ended up in Skopje finishing this article in a comfy but cheap hostel. I’ve been in Macedonia for over a week now touring through Ohrid and Bitola and then back to Skopje.
I stick with the budget which increased from 10€ to 20€ a day, but it works. I packed up just clothes. Most of the life’s pleasures are still for free. It’s still about killing the time but now I have something to look forward. Soon I’m going to pick up Eva for vacation in Montenegro. And then I arranged a hostel volunteering in Mostar, cultural capital of Hercegovina. Summer in my favorite Balkans feels more than acceptable.
Back to basics, the meaning lies simply in discovering the new. No more, no less. Continents, countries, cities, streets, culture, food, language and people. Experiencing their ordinary day while living an extraordinary one. This is my idea of parallel universe where time doesn’t fly.