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email Glenn

Everything is Travel

About a month ago, I received an email that said, in effect, "Nice web site, but how the hell do you get so much free time to see the world. Some of us have to work for a living! Tell me your secrets, please......."

I get this question a lot, and there are a bunch of answers.

1. I am lucky enough to have an adventurous wife.
2. We don't have children or debt to tie us down.
3. My work allows us a lot of travel opportunities.
4. I treat everything as travel.

So, how can you live like this? Well, let's see...

First - Find an amazing spouse.

No, you cannot have mine. No, you cannot even borrow her.
You must find your own.

Glenns' Wonderings

Of course, you can travel on your own, but that's a difficult thing to sustain over years. Traveling takes energy, and energy requires fuel. Traveling with two allows the opportunity to generate far more fuel than one can alone.
What is the fuel that drives travel?
Curiosity, hunger, and interests. The search for spicy food, primal music, perfect waves, rare wildlife, exotic sex, pure love, cheap clothing, natural architecture, pagan rituals, transcendent paintings, soulful carvings, sacred ceremonies, unexplained magic, new friendships, and the almighty dollar.
Of course, it could be something more abstract, like inner peace or global domination.

The point is, the more interests you have, the more likely you are to travel. And if you have a partner with diverse interests, it's even more likely that you'll find reasons to travel (and more likely you'll fight about it when you get there - hey, win some, lose some).
So, if you want to travel, as a way of life, you need a partner who will fill the gas tank, and not hit the brakes.

Look for someone who says:
"Hey, in Mozabawa they climb a hill once every 7 years to burn armadillo scales in worship of a rare breed of furry snake, then dance naked. Wouldn't that make a cool home video?"
and you've found a good co-pilot.

Second - Sell your kids and pay off your debt.

No, just joking.
I'm sure there are ways to travel with kids (make them the next Hansens?).
I just don't know anything about it.
And no, we don't baby-sit or make loans.

Third - Find a job that provides travel opportunities.

Remember, though, there is a downside.
If problem is just another word for challenge, and challenge is just another word for opportunity, then surely the reverse is also true.
That's right, as we all learned in high school, if x = y, then y = x.
(It's tough to be both a philosopher and an engineer).

In other words, Glenn's First Law states that "Opportunity is just another word for Problem".
Work related travel can mean, as my friend Scott has pointed out, "doing the same thing I do every day, just in another place", which means in a different language, with strangers, with jet lag, with stomach problems, and without much free time.

On the other hand, you're getting paid for it, you meet real people, and you're not a tourist.
Something like 70% of all my travel opportunities have come from my work.
I can't complain (but, as Joe Walsh said, "sometimes I still do".)

Fourth - Everything is travel.

This means that you have to see your travel opportunities, and you have to take advantage of them.

Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest.
Gravity and Friction always win.
These are facts.

But, I'm not going to let them claim victory for awhile.
No matter where I go, what the weather, how little time I have, I will make sure to do something.
When I walk around the hotel, I joke with the local staff.
When I meet people on business, I ask about their home life and hobbies (and, as my Asian friends will tell you, shaking their heads, many more personal topics).
When it's time to eat, I have local food, letting a local order my meal.
I buy local newspapers, then ask some questions about the headlines.
I go into stores and prod the staff for information about the local goods for sale.

If I'm not in my own town, I try to use every single thing I do as an opportunity for travel (just remember Glenn's First Law).
Haircuts, toilet breaks, TV, music, and transportation are all chances to 'go local'. If you don't believe this, you have not traveled.
Actually, there's no reason why you cannot practice this in your own town as well (though there are a lot of reasons why you shouldn't!).

Henry David Thoreau was a traveler, even when he confined himself to Walden Pond.
'Living deliberately', carefully considering all the things you do, is great advice.

If you can do that, then Everything is Travel.

Planning is Travel. Reading is Travel. Looking through books is travel. Talking to people from other places is travel. Listening to music is travel.
Yes, even work is travel.

This is, I think, the key lesson to living the wandering lifestyle.

Every end is a new start. Every time you're lost, you find something.
Every goodbye is a hello. Every place is Home.
And everything is travel.

GH 5/98
More Wonderings