How I lived out of a backpack for four years

Traveling has always been a major part of my life. I was born in Nepal, grew up in Japan and moved to the USA when I was twelve years old. Growing up I remember traveling to Nepal, Germany, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Bali, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, etc.… I grew up hearing tales of my parents traveling all over the world during the seventies and eighties. Both of my parents started traveling around the world as soon as they were old enough. They met each other while living in Nepal and that’s why I was born there. So it was fated that I was destined to travel, too. It was like a genetic predisposition, and I always felt like that was what I was supposed to do when I got older.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

 

My first big travel adventure as an adult was when I visited South Africa for a study abroad trip when I was an undergrad in college. I loved the country so much that I decided to obtain my Master’s degree there. I remember moving to Cape Town as a young twenty-something. It was so exciting, venturing into the unknown, not knowing what life had in store for me. I met quite a few world travelers in Cape Town. They were people just like me who had grown up traveling; people who had lived their lives in foreign lands; people who did not belong to one country or one culture. I loved it.

 

At Angkor Wat

At Angkor Wat

I remember a Dutch friend I made in Cape Town. She was a bit older than me and had traveled a lot as well. I remember her telling me “I think I am done traveling, after my degree, I want to move back to Europe and start working.” I remember not being able to relate to that because all I could think about was more travel, more exploration, and seeing more of the world. I felt like I could never reach that point in my life when I did not want to travel anymore.

 

After I completed my master’s degree, I started on an extended journey through South and Central America with one of my childhood friends. We traveled for nine months and loved it. I felt free, and I felt like ME. I came back to California for few months and looked for a new opportunity. That’s when I got a position working for an NGO in Nicaragua. So I moved to Nicaragua for six months. I LOVED the experience. I loved living such a simple lifestyle. I loved living like a local and close to nature. After my position ended, I met my father in South America and backpacked with him for the next three months. I remember I almost decided not to return to the USA. I wanted to stay and teach English in Colombia and dance salsa. The day before my scheduled flight I made up my mind to fly back to the USA. I spent the next few months searching for my next job opportunity. This time I found one in Hawaii. I worked for a travel company for few months. Through this experience I was introduced to another travel company and was hired as a bicycle tour guide. For the next two years I worked half of the year as a trekking guide and several months in Hawaii for a different travel company.

Bike touring in Tuscany, Italy

Bike touring in Tuscany, Italy

 

During this whole time I had been living out of a backpack. My sister in California was kind enough to let me leave a few things behind as I ventured from one adventure to the next. I loved all the exotic places I traveled to and the wonderful experiences I had and all the great people I met along the way. Some morning I would wake up in the bed confused on what cities or what country I am at. For four years I was deeply involved with living the nomadic lifestyle, but finally I was starting to feel TIRED. I was tired of living out of my backpack; I felt tired of sleeping in a different bed every few days; I felt tired--exhausted from my physically demanding jobs; I felt tired of never being able to unpack, and I felt tired of not having a routine. I felt like I could not eat as well as I wanted, and I could not exercise as much as I wanted to because of my lack of routine. I felt tired of meeting new people constantly, but not forming meaningful relationships. I was meeting new people, but not being able to become part of a community.

 

Temple in Cambodia

Temple in Cambodia

In 2016, at the end of my bicycle trekking season I traveled to Spain. It was the end of the season celebration for the company I worked for. It was a week full of fun and adventure, biking around the beautiful island of Mallorca. It was a week of biking, dancing, drinking and eating with co-workers from all over the world. My best friend flew over to Europe and for several weeks we traveled all over Spain together. Despite all that I had never felt so tired before… so tired of traveling! I was done…finished… I did not want to travel anymore. At that moment I finally understood why my Dutch friend had said what she had. I had finally reached that point in my life when I was done with the full-time traveling lifestyle.

 

After Spain, I flew back to LA, completed an intensive yoga teacher-training course (my long-time dream and goal), and started to work full-time as a yoga instructor. I found a small room to rent. After four years I was finally able to unpack that backpack. I was finally able to decorate my room. I was finally able to relax, and have a routine again. Now I can eat the way I want, anytime I want.  I can exercise the way I want, anytime I want. I can join a yoga studio; I can take dance lessons; I can hang out with my sisters and my niece every week, attend birthday parties, graduation ceremony, attend wedding, and do all those things I can only do when not traveling.

 

At Angkor Wat

At Angkor Wat

Now don't get me wrong, I still LOVE to travel. I still get that travel-itch--the travel bug causes to my whole body shudder and crave the new and the exotic. So I am still going to travel…a lot, but this time traveling will not be my whole life. It will just be a part of my life; albeit, a major part.

 

*P.S. - I have nothing against those who travel as their lifestyle. I admire those free-spirited nomads who enjoy living that way full-time. I was able to discover, from personal experience, that it was not for me. I am certainly glad I did it, and I do not regret my many years on the road. Who knows, one day I may go back to that lifestyle, but that will be in the future. For now, I am happy to finally have a home again! J