BootsN’All is a wonderful around-the-world backpacking site, http://www.bootsnall.com/ which appeals to the younger, more rough travel, crowd. I have used them during some of my previous travels and have now received their challenge to all hardcore adventurers about the way to best solve the common lifestyle questions which this type of travel brings to the fore. They will email a question a day throughout the month of November but I have missed that list and so, have received all questions at once. I’ll keep you up on my attempts to become current. I’m supposed to also post these answers to my Facebook page, which I do have; and to Twitter and Instagram, which I don’t yet have. The hashtag “#DoYouIndie becomes the way that BootsN’All can track the circulation of our answer.
BOOTSN’ALL INDIE 2015 MANIFESTO QUESTIONS
November 1 Question: – #1 -“Why did you first start traveling? #2 – Why did you continue to travel? #3 – Why do you want to travel?
Answer 1. Though I’ve always had an identification with world exploration, I scotched that with a post-university marriage and the birth of two children, early on. However, after my divorce in 1983, I began to organize grassroots group tours to the USSR, upon its opening in 1990. With another woman, we formed a company and recruited Westerners for two-week trips within Russia, Ukraine and Siberia. Together, we planned a great many trips and split the guiding duties. I spent eighteen months, feet-on-the-ground within the Soviet countries, either leading tours or awaiting the arrival of another between groups.
Four years of navigating the USSR, which had no tourist infrastructure, under the guidance of our Ukrainian counterparts, taught me that everything is possible if one approaches it with an open and happy attitude. Nothing is actually dangerous to one who understand the Other’s viewpoint and position. Again and again, I witnessed world peace taking place on a deeply personal level. For U.S. citizens to fall in love with our former “enemies,” their homestay hosts, was the ultimate in travel satisfaction and adventure.
Answer 2 That fulltime joy of professionally planning and leading group trips, orchestrated through our friends on the inside of the Soviet Union, set the bar for me. Another good experience was my working with the Soviet Embassy in Washington to acquire visas for our group members. Each trip of twenty-to-forty travelers extended my boundaries, until 1994, when the Ruble gained in value and we could no longer offer, two-week, airfare included, affordable trips.
Answer 3 Most memorable was watching U.S. citizens fall in love with their Soviet hosts in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev and various cities in Siberia. This magic became the ultimate travel satisfaction and adventure for me. Even though our office closed when the costs rose, I found a way to become a ’round-the-world, solo backpacker when I wasn’t caretaking for my Mother and my son during their final eleven years. Their deaths released me to stay on the move, though some house and petsitting stints have kept me in one place (in Brazil and Cape Town, South Africa, as well as America) while my saved expenses refilled my travel fund . A fairly-large Social Security pension provides an income which, quite naturally, stretches farther when I’m overseas.
NOVEMBER 2 QUESTION: Reasons for traveling – Experiences vs Possessions
A world traveler must divest! I’m not talking about tour-takers here! These are still “tourists” who an own a vast accumulation of stuff, including animals, and they can walk away for a predictable timeframe without penalty. Around the world as a group? Ships, planes, guides, nice hotels…. all it takes is money, not serious divestment. They can never escape the tourist category until travel becomes their way of life. That’s a serious step which most people simply cannot take; often because of others in their life.
I own nothing but the few possessions in my backpack and one rolling suitcase: clothes in the pack and heavy writing and photography materials in the other…things that I can afford to lose if I must. Detachment! I have no house, no car, no time payments except my ongoing credit card charges,required for this sort of travel, to keep up with. I have let go of the need for any permanent home. Can you imagine the freedom that comes with this? No possessions are worth the heavy burden that these inflict!
Do “Things” own you? The proof is in the exercise of Letting Go!