To be a man is to be an explorer, or a pioneer. Sure, the advent of farming (staying put in one place) created massive surpluses, and allowed human society to flourish. But man was meant to roam. It’s in our blood.
While farming and gardening are all right, and can be a great source of pleasure for many (Zen gardening, anyone?), if you really want to experience life as it was meant to be lived, you need to head out on your very own, personal walkabout. And no, I don’t mean walking to your car, driving to the mall, and walking around the shops.
I know what I’m talking about here. I’ve been roaming around this wonderful planet for a number of years, and have called cities in North America, East Asia, and Europe my home. While there are some sacrifices that come with the wandering life (setting down roots, having all of your friends in one location), there are plenty of rewards also. You don’t have to stay out in the “wilderness” for as long as I have, but a few months to a good, solid year, could really do wonders for your outlook on life.
Aboriginal Australians have been going on walkabouts for ages. The original concept behind the Aboriginal walkabout was to prepare adolescents for adulthood. Young people would head out into the bush, often for months at a time, and experience the beauty, danger and fortifying effects Mother Nature had to offer them. During this journey, the person on the walkabout would trace the paths of the songlines (the paths of the creator beings), which would aid in the navigation of Australia’s immense deserts.
While these young adults were traditionally confined to Australia (a pretty big place; just look at a map), you don’t have to be. With a little saving, some thrifty spending, and a bit of forward planning, you can make the world your backyard.
How can you really know what this great big planet is all about unless you get out there and experience a bit of it for yourself? While holidays aboard the Carnival Cruise Line in the Caribbean, or stays at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris might be nice, they won’t cut it.
Going on a modern walkabout can help you leave the stresses of the modern world behind. Even if you end up in a big city on another continent, it’s not your big city, which means you’ll be immersed in an entirely different experience. Some people, once they’ve squirreled away enough money, travel the Earth for one, two or even three years at a time. If you head out into the wild and the unknown, you’re still bound to come across a few very interesting folks. BootsnAll is a very good online community where you can see what some of these fine travelers are up to.
On the practical side of things (and if you want to save a buck or two), you can stay in hostels, buy around-the-world airfares on sites like Indie (from BootsnAll) or Skyscanner, crash on foreign couches using a service like Couchsurfing, or opt for cheap accommodations with the likes of Airbnb.
The modern age and the Internet make travel and connecting with people from different cultures remarkably easy. Of course you’ll probably run into your share of snags while you’re out and about on your walkabout, but that’s all part of the adventure. A few headaches, delayed flights, and scrapes and bruises make for great stories when you get back home.
All right, are you sold? Do you want to go on your very own, customized walkabout? Worried that you’re too young, too old, or just too damn busy with building your career to let loose? Don’t worry. As long as you’re not abandoning or leaving your family in the lurch, there’s no better time to start traveling the world than right now.