On the road – a full time job

Travelling over land and sea is a different endeavour compared to quick bip-boping flights which just gets you THERE. With local transportation, minivans, hitch hiking, night trains, walking, shared taxis, cargo ships (all writing of destinations in Cyrillic or Georgian letters…), you just never know exactly when you’re gonna reach your destination, or in many cases, where exactly, that actually is. To take on the mission of “overlanding- and seaing” from Sweden to China you really gotta love the road, the oceans, the forceful bumps and the cringing waves and every little nook and cranny where you’ll stop on the way. If you can’t go without food for 10 hours, if you haven’t learned how to keep your pee in for a full day, or just can’t sit with your knees pressed against the seat in front of you for a day or two – this is not for you.
But if you love actually meeting the locals, laughing and gesticulating trying to communicate you’re looking for food, shyly trying to say Dyakuyu, Spasibo, Madloba, or whatever you seem to think a ”thank you” is in the current language – met by a wide smile from strangers. If you love seeing the sun set on never ending land masses – every night a different scenery; the architecture around you change from country side to vivid metropolitan cities, if you can’t get enough of mountain tops covered in white, valley’s in red and green; or spying at locals when they conduct their daily businesses by the roadside, seeing herders guard the sheep, peacefully grazing on hills along the road. If you enjoy being helped by people you don’t know, surprised by not getting ripped off just because you’re a tourist, if you enjoy learning the names of local musicians and singers, travelling side by side with every day commuters, on roads where other backpackers avoid – then this adventure is for you. If you can take a risk, gamble away a day or two, build your patience in painfully slow border crossings, learn to connect without the use of language, calculating new currencies over and over again, tasting and loving a food seemingly weird, accepting an invite, learn how to trust in strangers, learn how to trust yourself, then this adventure is for you.
Though I some what consider myself being on vacation, I am anything but rested and relaxed. Each day includes mini missions: trying to figure out in in which cafes they serve food and in which they only serve kebab, how I can explain I don’t want sugar in my coffee or just trying to find the not so clearly advertised bus station in the outskirts of town. Will there be buses leaving? Who will know? Will the ferry actually leave this afternoon? Probably not, call this number and pray that someone can say something in English. Do we have a place to stay when we arrive? Well, depends on when you will arrive, doesn’t it? And that depends on when the bus/train/boat actually leaves.
No, travelling is not a vacation, it’s a life style. It’s all these choices that we make every day. Just because we don’t have actual jobs or a career with a long term goal doesn’t mean we are not determined, focused and mind strong. We choose to climb a mountain instead of a career ladder – a climb where all our will, strength and grit is put to the test, a test that sometimes come dangerously close to fatal risks. Where the reward is natures splendour itself and not a five figured number in our accounts. Travelling is being self employed with full responsibilities for the company’s economical success at the same time as you’re studying language, history, geography, international relations, and learning something new each and every day. Where you have to learn the local traditions and customs or loose the very important connection which you need to be successful. It’s setting the alarm, getting up at four in the morning, packing for a full month of work, maybe have a coffee on the way and not to expect any lunch break. Some days you work from the office while travelling. Needing to make plans for the coming week, consult someone about further travels, making those important phone calls you should have done, research your options and possibilities online, and have large amounts of free coffee in the office/home/hostel you’re staying in. And in the evening, all your colleagues will share their stories, philosophies, ideologies, dreams and passions, as if you’ve been working together for years. Next evening, new place, same job.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Frida says:

    Får gåshud av att läsa! Tänker också att det du skriver är väldigt sant och blir så inspirerad av att resa land/havsvägen.
    Får också lite panik av allt i världen som jag inte har varit ens i närheten av att se! Värt mer än karriär? Ska börja med att testa att inte äta på tio timmar och läsa igenom hela din blogg.

    Like

    1. Jessica says:

      Glömde svara på denna, men blev sådär hjärtevärm som bara du kan göra mig. Längtar efter ditt vackra ansikte de där trötta morgnarna ombord! Puss!

      Like

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