Sipping a mojito on Ko Lanta at sunset

Sipping a mojito on Ko Lanta at sunset

After four months on the road, I’m finally back home, jet-lagged and nursing a cold. (Sniff.) It’s only when my head finally hits my own pillow, after 30 hours of shuffling between planes and airports, that I realize how exhausted I am. As I sink into sleep, I am always mildly surprised (yet grateful) to have made it back home in one piece. Once again.

Yet, increasingly, I feel like a lazy traveller on these long trips. I meet other people who are doing treks trough primitive villages, riding kayaks for days down treacherous rivers, volunteering, teaching English, or moving around every couple of days. And what do I do? I settle down in a place for weeks on end, drinking cappuccinos and eating cake. I go on a few strolls. I ride a bike to wineries. I watch the sunset with a drink in hand. I do the occasional hike or boat trip. And I try to find the time (and the internet) to write.

It wasn’t always that way. There was a time when I would ride buses for hours to see a waterfall, or pay good money to ride an elephant. When I was 20 years old, I went on a 30-hour bus journey to see the ocean, just because I had never seen it. During my early trips, there was so much I wanted to see and do that I felt the need to move to a different town every 3 or 4 days. This is quite a reasonable thing to do on a two-week vacation, but not on a 4-month trip, as I learned the hard way. But now, unless something sounds very unique or unusual, I’d rather just drink espresso and ponder life.

Waterfalls? Who cares, they’re everywhere. Unless they’re the tallest, biggest, or most powerful in the world (or happen to be on the way to something else), I won’t be bothered.

Iguassu, Argentina - here is a waterfall worth its salt!

Iguassu, Argentina – here is a waterfall worth its salt!

I’ve already done and seen quite a bit in my travelling life. Ride an elephant? Check. Ride a camel at sunrise? Check. Ride a horse to an active volcano (also at sunrise). Check. Swim with dolphins? (Well, not quite but I certainly tried.) See the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids of Egypt, Angkor Wat, the Colosseum? Check. Check. Check. Check.

I think I’m getting a little jaded. The “wow” moments are fewer and farther between. I don’t want the hardship unless something truly amazing awaits. Already some countries deliver constant hardship whether you want it or not: difficulty communicating, filth, rip-offs, noise, pollution, traffic, mayhem. In those countries, just managing to get a room, a meal, and finding your way to the sights feels like an accomplishment. So travelling is not always (pardon the pun) a piece of cake!

But beside escaping the winter and looking for heat (which I certainly overdid this year in Bali and Bangkok), I still have travel goals, things I will make extra efforts to see. I am hoping that these sights will provide the “wow” moments that I (and every traveller) crave:

    • Ephesus and Cappadocia in Turkey
    • The Great Wall of China
    • Victoria Falls in Africa (Zimbabwe/Zambia border)
    • Madagascar (unique flora and fauna)
    • Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania (wildlife)
    • A hot air balloon ride (over something spectacular, perhaps Cappadocia or Serengeti)
    • Hike in Torres de Paine (Chile)
    • Iceland (midnight sun, landscapes)
    • Lago Atitlan, Guatemala (landscape)
    • Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia (landscape)
    • Burj Khalifa, Dubai (world’s tallest building)

So, to answer my own question, I don’t think I am necessarily a lazy traveller. “Lazy” is relative. Everybody has a different way of travelling, and you should travel in a way that makes you happy. Not everyone wants to scale volcanoes, party all night, or go “find themselves” in an ashram. There is nothing wrong with seeking good coffee and watching the world go by, preferably in a warm climate. No matter what you do when you’re out of your element, adventures and interesting people will find you.

Note: For the time being I will continue writing a blog post once a week (on Sunday) instead of twice a week, so that I have more time to produce information articles for the other sections of the site, as well as work on my upcoming e-book!

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