We wake up by singing birds. A gentle breeze kisses our skin and we open our eyes for a beautiful sky to be observed. This is how we travel, camping outdoors and preferred without a tent. Inhale fresh air and fall asleep with the milkyway above our head. Exhale and let go any feeling of responsibility.
Home is where we are
Everywhere we walk, home is within us and with us – literally. Our backpacks we left with weigh almost 20 kilo each, which is not a lot when considering it’s all we have to live at this point, but it is an immense weight to walk around with. Actually, most weight comes from electronics. Without our laptop, camera with lenses, a tripod and rechargers we’d drop 10 kilos! But without a laptop this blog would not exist and without camera gear the passion for photography would not be pursued.
Another 6 kilos we carry is our kitchen and bed. We tend to focus on healthy meals; nuts, fruits and vegetables have our main attention as vegetarians. Deciding to cook for ourselves a lot, we had to take the gear for it. For sleeping we have the lightest tent, sleeping bag and mattress which we find suitable for us. Adding up some more weight and space in our backpacks, but this way we don’t have to worry about paying for any accommodation. By the way, advice on gear will be given by Sieger in later posts, having worked in a travel and outdoor store he knows how to guide one in this pretty well.
So every little bit on our back is very well considered. Every part makes us able to create a home everywhere we go. Unfolding a personal space in nature is satisfying, enriching and connects us more and more with both earth & sky – and all elements in between. It’s our way of exploring our universe inside and out.
No fixed structure
We travel slow and without a detailed, structured plan. Aside our pre-decided destinations, we figure things out along the way.
When traveling for a longer period, plans are destined to change – thus fixed plans may lead to disappointment. Being flexible and allowing any changes to come also means you will be ‘in the moment’ more because there is no constant presence about what is coming next.
Sometimes we stay a few nights on one spot, sometimes a few weeks and sometimes we feel like leaving immediately. Following our feeling is necessity. Intuition is inside all of us but learning to fully trust in intuition is something one develops along the way. It’s not always a very clear reason why we move. It could be weather, people, environment or just a combination of different things. A feeling is not always easy to put into words but that doesn’t make it unreliable for being a guide.
Through openness along the path we connect with people and allow their advice to direct us. This way we find a lot of great places instead of following the generally advised places by books or internet. Last week we went to the local market in Valle Gran Rey de La Gomera and we got in a conversation with one of de vendors who is also a traveler. After telling her our plan to go to La Palma, she responded having lived there for a year! Immediately she could advise us the perfect spots to stay.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.
Leave your comfort zone
We strongly advice anybody – especially younger people – to try and leave behind as much as they can from the pretty spoiled life and go into nature. After experiencing a life with less, all which comes extra will be more appreciated. Resulting in more gratitude for the daily luxuries we’re used to.
Backpacking and camping is a cheaper way to travel but in order to do this you must be willing to leave the comfort zone you are used to. We said goodbye to plush pillows, hot water showers, refrigerators and the constant connection with internet. Much better than a computer screen or television, we now watch the sunset every possible evening and look deeper into nature. Disconnected from time, we feel it by the position of the sun instead. In the dark, we follow a calendar by the moon – and often we forget the count of shooting stars in simply one night!
Spending our time in nature we feel like we are clearing our heads from all the unnatural impulses we get in society. Nowadays – through media, radio, television, billboard signs on the road and even the smallest ads on the internet – people’s minds are cluttered with nonsense. Discovering the world through one’s own eyes and perspective is much more rewarding than through the media. It is healing to disconnect from society and connect with a more natural way of living. Leading more to a life of inspiring yourself than being inspired by what is told or shown by corporations and television. Leading more to a self-creating life than simply buying.
Of course this way of traveling/lifestyle is not the desire of everyone but at least it’s something we would strongly recommend experiencing. And no matter what the impression was, one will learn from it either way.
One of the most important things in life, with all situations is the ability to adapt. Learning to adapt is strengthening to the mind and body. We try to adapt to wherever we go, between food, local habits, language and so on.
When going into other countries, we don’t just look for our favorite dish. Chances are big we wouldn’t find it and if we did, we would probably be disappointed anyways! Nowhere makes french fries like Belgium or cous cous like Morocco. Going into a foreign cuisine is enriching ones palate, but not every meal will be a favorite.
Maybe even more important whilst traveling is getting into the local language. Learning a few new words takes little effort and creates a lot of appreciation with locals. We remember being in Croatia for two weeks and buying bread with a ‘hvala’ (thank you) and immediately receiving a smile back! In several countries in the world, especially where there is less or no tourism, people expect you to communicate in their language. This way you’re forced into adapting your way of communicating. As vegetarians, the word ‘meat’ is one of the first to translate – besides all the basic communication.
Change in plans or ideas of how you wanted everything to go will need acceptance. Sometimes you’re not able to go all the places you’d have liked to. Sometimes because of delay you might miss a certain connection. Sometimes the weather makes it unable to follow your plans. Many things, big and small, can interfere. If you’re not open for letting these things fall over you with a smile then it will definitely upset you. Focus on the luck you have on your journey and you will definitely be able to overcome these trials.
Since we’re living outdoors we even have to consider climate when it comes to buying our groceries. With little to no shade and hot weather things go bad quickly – it’s impossible to buy cheese or yogurt for multiple days. Also, we have to be cautious of insects and animals that surround us – fruit which is easily bruised will attract a lot of insects and animals aren’t afraid of chewing into bags! We create solutions by hanging bags in trees and sometimes building a ‘fridge’ with shade.
On a larger scale the weather may also need getting used to. For example, people who’ve made far travels into other continents know immediately that going from a dry climate to a moist surrounding needs time. Your body can’t always adapt the fast way our transportation moves us! Even here on La Gomera the weather is different from the hot and dry coast versus being in the mountains or forest where it’s cold and damp.
Questions about money are always asked when we explain our long term journey and of course for most people it’s a big concern. Many have the misconception that you need a lot of funds to explore the world but in reality we are spending less than if we were living in one place paying rent every month. Basically it’s all about the way one chooses to live and travel. As mentioned, we carry a home and kitchen with us which already changes a lot budget-wise.
When not camping we try to do couchsurfing. It’s a fantastic way to meet locals and explore an area through the local perspective rather than the tourist information a hotel or hostel will provide you. Sometimes you connect with amazing people who invite you into their personal space. So eventually through couchsurfing you combine a lovely social experience with a cheap stay. We really advise not to be scared staying in somebody else’s home and to remain open for new experiences. For us it only has been positive every time again! Through online platforms like couchsurfing you can securely organize a stay while getting a clear idea of who this person is and read experiences of others.
Another option is to volunteer in exchange for accomodation – sometimes even food included! Workaway is the site we are using to do this, the opportunities and locations are endless. For example we found a workaway in a tree house hostel in Nicaragua we’re hoping to reach – sounds awesome, right?
Transportation can be expensive but if your willing to take the time and effort into doing research then you can easily save quite a bit of money. Europe has many economy airlines Ryanair is generally the cheapest. Can you imagine we booked our tickets from Belgium to Croatia for €25 each? On top of public transportation you can save money by hitchhiking or carpooling websites like blablacar. Still, for ourselves transportation is maybe the biggest expense and this is the case for most travellers.
When we came to the Canary Islands in January we heard of people hitching a boat to America and got inspired. Being on the Canaries again, we’ll be searching a boat on La Palma going anywhere in the direction of South America. Saving a lot of money is one, gaining an interesting experience is two and traveling a more ecological way than by plane is three. We’ll surely let you know how it goes!
Combining the elements of carrying our home, having no fixed structure, leaving our comfort zone and hereby adapting as good we can creates the way we travel. For us it’s freeing mind, heart, spirit & body. Of course the road of truth is personal. We are not here to tell you what the real way of life or traveling is. Simply, we hope to inspire and give an idea of how it’s possible.
Words from the heart,