The greatest part about my backpacking trip in Central America can not be specified into a certain place, a specific moment, or one experience. I loved the experience as whole, the people, the places, all of it. One of the things that I loved the most no matter where I was was the simplicity. All the things that were so important back home were not important anymore. I wasn’t worried about my future, I didn’t have technology to distract me, it didn’t matter what anyone else was doing or what I “should” have been doing. I didn’t even hardly look into a mirror more than once a week. I was happy. I was happy walking for hours on end, riding a bike around, eating rice and beans, reading a book. I wasn’t concerned about what to wear, I didn’t do my make-up once, I didn’t do my hair. I lived. made friends with the people around me, I slept in hammocks, I sang karaoke at night with people I had just met. I didn’t spend my time working all week to be able to afford to keep working in hopes of someday making more money. Having fruit and black coffee for breakfast before going for a swim in the Caribbean, and my biggest concern of the day being whether a coconut would fall out of the palm tree I was reading my book under and hit me in the head or not is the best way I can think of spending any day. Or waking up in the middle of a cloud forest and trying to decide if I should go swimming in the river canyons, go hiking, or lay around and write all day. That is what I love. That is what inspires me. That is was makes me want to work hard at home, what makes me decide to stay in rather than go out with my friends.
I don’t care for things. I can’t remember the last time I went shopping for anything that wasn’t for my trip. I don’t need a nice car and expensive purse. I need experiences. I need to push myself to see what I’m made of. I don’t want to go where everyone in my hometown is going Saturday night, I want to go somewhere I have never been before and meet people I have never met before. I want to hear a perspective I have never heard before and eat something I have never tasted before. I want everything life can give me. I’ve never been good at settling and I don’t see it happening for me anytime soon. I love my family, I love my home, I love the familiarity of the sound of football Sunday and my mom cooking in the kitchen with my dogs sleeping around the house. I am so grateful to return to that, but I also know that there is so much in this life for me to experience.
There is a fire inside of me, and I’m not sure what it is, but I want to see where it takes me. I don’t need to be comfortable. People say that millennials can’t commit, that we don’t know what we want. but I don’t think that’s it. We know what we want, we want everything. We want to work so hard we can’t be beaten, and we want to binge watch Netflix for hours on end. We want a job and a home, and we want to travel the world. We spent the last seven years being told the economy was ruined, there were no jobs, and we were screwed, and we’re over it. We can’t be blamed for not committing to anything when we have been told for almost a decade there was no hope anyways. We can spend thousands and thousands of dollars going to school for a job we’ll never get, or we can work 50 hours a week at a job for tips and get the heck out of there to do something we’ll actually enjoy. We aren’t looking for stability as much as we are looking for what makes us happy.
On my trip, I asked myself, “Why do I love to travel? Is it for social experiences? Or is it to see new places?”. By the end of the trip it knew the answer, it was both. The two combined are what makes something unique, they are what make the things you do a “once in a lifetime” adventure. It’s all about the places you go and the people you meet along the way. I couldn’t define a favorite part of my trip because I went to so many different places and met so many people that it wouldn’t be fair to pick just one, but all of them combined are what makes a trip great and the reason I love to travel.