2017 is right around the corner, that oddball year we’ve number 2016 is coming to an end. For many, it was a terrible year. For me, it was mostly a year of disappointment, full of questions and doubts. Whatever plans and dreams I had for or about traveling at the start of the year, did not come true. I few short trips was all I could do. And though this was a year not well spent on traveling, at least it gave a chance to reflect upon myself. Some doubts can be taken away, and some questions can be answered.
Thailand, The United States, A European tour, some place I had not thought of yet? I had concepts, ideas, you know? I even had a few plans when it came to traveling this year. Back in January or so, the chances of one or more of these plans coming to fruition were still considered “quite possible.”
The year even began with a journey, a small vacation in my home country. Though I have no particular interest or care about the Netherlands as a travel destination, it still felt like an excellent start of the year. How excited I still was back then. I was already imagining myself road tripping from one American coast the other, revisiting my favorite places in Thailand, and I even dared to envision myself sitting under the cherry trees of Tokyo. Instead, 2016 just… happened. Unexpected costs, interference, my work refusing to give me some time off, projects piling up. Every time I so much as thought about getting on a plane or train, something happened, and my chance to get away vanished.
Whatever the reason, I found it to become incredibly easy to say “no” to chances. When the situation arrived to go so somewhere, I almost always declined with the utmost conviction. Better to save my money. I don’t have the time. I don’t feel like it. While monetary and time concerns are valid reasons to say no, I don’t feel like it was a completely new one to me. Getting tired of traveling happens. Constantly on the move, packing, unpacking, no constants. It can grow tiring, and a need to settle down and catch you breath is a natural response. But I haven’t traveled all that much this year. My lack of enthusiasm came from somewhere else: doubt.
What does traveling really mean to me? Is it really worth it? Can my time and money not be better spent on other, more important things? What do I get for it in return? Am I not just really lazy? Am I trying to escape my”real” life, and responsibilities?
Questions and doubts.
After my trip to Barcelona, I returned home with a renewed vigor. I knew I wanted to be, nay, I was a travel writer, blogger, photographer. Quality of my work be damned. This is who I am and what I do. Plans formed once again. plans for this website, for instance. But my newfound strength vanished rapidly. Questions and doubts returned. Finding the energy to do anything travel related became harder and harder.
What’s the difference between a traveler and a tourist? Many travel writers and bloggers have asked this questions. Many have tried to answer it. My usual response to their answer was to roll my eyes, and occasionally give them a mental “fuck you, you condescending prick.”
I’ve never cared much about the difference. As far as I could tell, the only difference was a state of mind, and perhaps the meaning behind our travels.
But what is a traveler anyway? Am I a traveler? Friends and relatives of mine travel more often, and for longer periods of time. Are they travelers? Or just lucky sons of bitches who can afford plenty of vacation? Is there a minimum number of days of traveling required before you can call yourself a traveler? A minimum number of journeys or destinations? Or is it really just a state of mind, a matter of how much it occupies or mind and thought? If I learned anything from this year, this ain’t it.
What I did learn however, is how much traveling means to me. It’s absence made it all the more clear. Maybe I really am a lazy bastard who wants to get away from it all. But so be it. I don’t know how much I’ll be traveling in 2017 and beyond, or how many days I get to spend abroad, or what destinations await. I do know there’s a good chance I’ll be putting this website on hold. An occasional post or update, maybe, till my next travel at least, whenever that may be. Maybe it will be 5 days in Luxembourg, or a month in Thailand. Maybe it will be at the start of the new year, or at the very end of it. All I know, is that I’ll mean something to me. It’ll be more than a vacation, or an escape. It will be a chance for me to do what I want to do and be who I want be. Dare I call it a way of life? Hell, why not. It’ll be a way of life.
I’ve written plenty of nonsensical articles. This might be the most idiotic and ridiculous of them all. Full of nonsense and bullshit. A perfect article to end the year.
See you in 2017.