So, you want to be a long-term traveller?
If you think this is what people call comfort zone
because by doing this you will find out who you are
but most importantly who you are not and who you’ll never be.
if you don’t know how it is to stay in the middle of the road without a map
if you have never let yourself get lost into the wilderness
without a chance to be saved by someone else instead of you
if you’re afraid you’ll lose the best pieces of advice from your friends,
their calls, the late night meetings, their laughter when something goes wrong,
your mother’s voice, your father’s caress, your siblings’ bundle of joy
don’t do it.
if you think you will never be able to have a serious relationship while on the road
but only love affairs without a happy ending
if you think love is just an old school concept,
too staind and dispassionate for this new century
don’t do it.
if it doesn’t get easier to say ‘goodbye’ and ‘see you soon’ in front of every airport,
railway station, hippie van, boat, ship or sailboat from this world
forget about it.
but if you suddenly start feeling hungry for change and foolishness,
if notions like “that isn’t possible” make you grin from ear to ear while
making your backpack lighter
then wait patiently.
if you never felt the urge of running to the nearest train station
and leave all your clothes at home
do something else.
if you think it’s nonessential to explore the world and discover new cultures
if you don’t want to learn new languages and develop new skills
you’re not ready.
when it is truly time
you will wake up one morning
take your backpack, open the door,
leave the maps in the drawers and the keys in your pocket,
and without thinking too much
you will travel until you die or the world ends while you’re doing it.
because my dear long-term traveler,
there is no other way
and there never was.
Inspired by Charles Bukowski’s poem “So you want to be a writer?”
Smaranda Rutzui is an adventurer. Cultural journalist. Long-term traveler. She writes about human culture and traditions in danger of extinction around the world. She is here to listen and write about the strangers who are waiting in the backroom. More than anything, these people need to be not only heard, but understood.