Dear Ivan (#1): Unconventional Traveling (As People Did Back In The Day)

Dear Ivan,

I must admit, I didn’t expect our encounter to be an impactful experience, especially since it was only for 10 days. You traveled consecutively for over 5 years without much funds, urban camped, and hitchhiked your way around Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. No doubt, I was surprised.

Here’s how I perceive it: before modern travel and transportation, people traveled by foot for long periods of time. I typically imagine traditional Japan and the individuals who had to make the long journey from Kyoto to Tokyo by foot (454 km -> 282 miles -> 95hrs) . And when evening set, they’d have to find a way to provide shelter for themselves. There may have been guesthouses, but I doubt all travelers on the path were able to afford it, thus needing to be a bit creative to survive through the night.

The thought of being dedicated to the people, area, and themselves, without the distractions of the internet, busy schedule, or idle time spent in the guesthouse is interesting. To be fully immersed in their area, at all times, even during sleep. I imagine this makes one more alert, appreciative, and opens a new perspective towards life.

It’s truly looking at the eyes of the unknown, misty path set before you, welcoming it, and bravely walking through. Knowing that you’ll figure a way (not have one pre-set) to take care of yourself in any situation, along with the faith that it’ll be okay. Adventurous, indeed. So when I heard you took the misty path, I was immediately intrigued.

Haha. What you initially said baffled me and has stuck to my mind:

One night, a guy invited me to his place for the night, but there were a lot of people and it smelled, and I said ‘This place sucks, I’m spending the night outside’, and it was much better.

A place was offered, it didn’t satisfy you, and you chose to spend the night outside. Mindblown. The point isn’t having the ability to spend the night out, but to realize that you’re in control; to never give someone else the permission to have control over you.

Many would’ve likely stated, “I have no choice, it’s either this, the expensive accommodation place next door, or the street.“, and by saying that, you relinquish your freedom because you have “no choice”. This can extend to other matters, such as abusive relationships. Even though your option may not be the most comfortable (sleeping outside, ending the relationship), it puts you in control and no one else. And I found that fascinating.

Through the week, I had nothing but questions. You replied with ease, told cool stories of meeting strangers, rode hundreds of cars, discovered hundreds of places to stay at, and experienced a culture and people in a unique form. It sounded like an anime adventure.

I’ve wondered how it’d be to travel as people did back in the day — long walks, immersed with nature/culture/people, hitchhike, urban camp, etc. To go days, perhaps weeks, without the internet; just a notebook and pencil.

And perhaps this is a separate, but slightly related since it means not having a place to stay, I’ve wanted to experience how the homeless people felt. They’re real people, with real stories, who have had their lives shattered. It’s easy tell them to get back on their feet, but how can you to tell someone without feet to get back on their feet? As in, they lack the actual possibility and hope to get back on their feet. Thus, how can we ignore people who are desperately displaying how they have no hope? The answer? I don’t know. It’s something I want to know and see resolved.

Anyways, I haven’t decided if I would hitchhike or urban camp as a part of my travels. I won’t say that I will do or try it, for talk is cheap. Instead, my response will be shown through my actions. All I can say is that I’m glad to have had that perspective expanded and am further interested in it.

Until next time my friend,

Lindo Korchi

[Featured image credit: fdecomite]