Transitioning to life on the road and living out of a backpack

When I said good-bye to my students, my town, and my apartment, I was thankful to have my boyfriend Andre with me  to distract me from the change, the transition. I  eased into travel mode slowly by having him, a car and staying in apartments both in Valencia and Madrid. Staying in apartments were comfortable and familiar, creating the sense of belonging and a place of my own, even though I was on the road. Saying good-bye  to a place I called home for so many months was harder than I thought and I found myself overreacting to silly things and situations that travel brings.Yet having my boyfriend to lean on and comfort me was my saving grace. After his 2 week visit, that seemed to pass like a strike of lightening, and we said our good-byes in the wee hours of the morning at the airport, I was comforted knowing I would see him in 7 weeks.  My brother had arrived 2 days prior and I knew I wasn’t alone. My brother and friend were back at the apartment and I had them to distract me and provide a “piece of home” that is more comforting than I imagined. 

My bro and I!

Being on the road takes energy and motivation and I’ve been doing my best to create a semi-routine while on the go. I’m a slow style traveler that would rather get to know a place better than rush around and check things off my list yet, I still fall pray when I know I have limited time in a country and have to choose. I’ve also become more aware that staying at a place for a minimum of 2 nights does the body and soul well and makes travel easier rather than changing cities and hostels each night.  We recently stayed for a night in a town and we seemed to spend more time on the train and local bus  to get there than seeing the town nor did we have much energy.

For the last several months, I’ve been uncertain and anxious about returning home but with everyday that passes, I feel more confident that returning to California is just what I need. I know when July 30th strikes, I’ll be excited to hop on a plane to see my Mom and friends and be at home. I’m sure I’ll be nostalgic and likely teary eyed to say good-bye to Spain, which has provided amusing stories, great friendships, delicious food and many a learning experience and life lessons. 

I’ve been grateful to have my boyfriend and now my brother to travel with and because of them it’s been easier to live out of a backpack, sleep in a dorm room and call hostels home. I feel fortunate stars aligned in the nick of time  because the original plan was for my boyfriend to visit in July, not May and despite asking my brother a few times if he’d come visit and always receiving the same answer, “yeah right” and “in your dreams” something changed when I asked him in April and he said, “yes.” 

Lately I’ve wondered how traveling solo for 2 months would be and I’m glad I don’t have to travel solo for the entire 2 months. So far, it seems the 2 hostels we’ve stayed in everyone has a travel buddy and the hostel environment of everyone hangs out together, goes out together that I remember so fondly from my hostel experiences in England, Scotland, South Africa, Alaska and Hawaii (and others) are different in Portugal and in Spain (at least where I have stayed). Each night is different in a hostel and dependent on the people and time of year but I’m grateful to not be traveling alone. 

When my brother and I say our good-byes at the end of June, after celebrating his 25th birthday, I’ll make my way to the Nowhere festival where I’ll help set up for 4 days before the festival, enjoy the 5 day festival in the desert and then help take down for 2 days with my friend Jessica and new friends. I’m excited to share the experience with her and already know someone but I’m still left wondering how my last 3 weeks  will be in the continent.  I’ll leave the festival July 10th and don’t’ board a plane home until July 30th. I plan to spend time in the North of Spain- Asturias, Galicia and Pais Vasco and I’m sure there will be more places I want to see than I have time for. I know I shouldn’t be concerned about July because as life keeps reminding me, LIfe is full of surprises and unexpected goodness… But alas, this is what’s been on this traveler’s mind.

Has transitioning from living in a place to traveling for an extended period of time caught you by surprise? Good things? Not so good? What has helped motivate you to stay on the road and upbeat? How do you shake the blues?


One thought on “Transitioning to life on the road and living out of a backpack

  1. Sounds like your summer is full of adventures, Lauren! I know what you mean about the travel blues though… the uncertainty, getting caught between wanting two things but not being able to have both (traveling and living abroad vs. being at home with family and friends!). The Nowhere Festival sounds like it’s going to be such a great experience, and you’ll meet even more people there, and I’m sure your travel plans will sort themselves out right after the festival, like you said. 🙂 Visiting the north of Spain sounds like a fantastic idea, and I can’t wait to go myself later this summer! Muchísima suerte, chica!! 😉

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