Five years feels like one blink of an eye, but when I think a bit closer, the past half of an decade has been just change after a change. I have changed the country I live in, the job I have, the relationships I have, everything. I have changed myself. Five years ago I was a student living in Finland, and now, after all the twists and turns, I have ended up living in Malta. No wonder that all the experiences, accumulated age and wisdom (maybe) have changed also the way I travel.
Five years ago travelling was a new thing for me. I had only visited my neighbour countries of Sweden and Estonia on my own. I remember how big of a milestone it was for me to have courage to travel Greece alone for the first time. I can still look back and remember the feeling of empowerment, when I noticed that I can actually manage on my own. Well, I can hardly speak about managing, since I took the trip through a tour company and had guides helping me around and tourist busses driving me to and from the airport. At that time, I had clear routines while travelling: first breakfast, then tanning on the beach and swimming in the sea, then back to the hotel for a nap and dinner in the evening. I never broke this routine of mine, and hardly left any room for any spontaneous adventure. And my travelling style, that was convenient but it was still a style. I used to go for shopping before my trips, and new clothes were kind of a way to celebrate the fact that I was on a holiday.
I took the next stage, when I travelled to Australia. I bought my first backpack, spent my first night at a hostel and did my first roadtrip without my parents. I took a clear turn from one end to another. I swapped comfortable hotel rooms, fancy pool areas and drinks with umbrellas to mixed dorm rooms of twenty people, box wine and traveller life consisting mainly of packing and unpacking my backpack. I think it was the three months I spent on a farm in rural Australia, that finally made me forget all memories of nice sunny beach life with tasty souvlaki, sex on the beach drinks and good looking waiters. Also my appearance changed. I started wearing these leather traveller wrist bands and shirts with some cliche text, like: “not all of those who wander are lost“. Yeah, that was me being a true traveller!
Next I fell for outdoor travels. Australia was the perfect place for this with its outback, amazing beaches, never-ending natural parks and mountain areas. I slept under the stars, climbed up to hills at 5 am to see the views and spent hours and hours at busses travelling to next destination. My appearance changed again: comfortable and sporty clothes became to fashion of the day. I always had good steady shoes with me, accompanied by sunscreen, hairband and a hat.
Now I have returned back to Europe. How am I as a traveller today? I would describe myself as a hybrid. In June, I will travel to Iceland to take a part in a horse riding tour, but then I am also going to a weekend getaway to Paris and staying at a pretty nice hotel. Fancy hotels are fine, hostels are fine, B&Bs are fine, even my friend’s couch is fine. Sleeping at a night bus is so so, but I can do that too. Well, maybe the age has made me a bit more careful and convenience seeking. Nowadays, I do my research when choosing a hostel or any other accommodation. I want to spend extra euros on a nice meal instead of just cooking noodles and tuna at my hostel kitchen. And I am ready to use money on experiences, tours and sightseeing.
When travelling, I go with the flow. I can pack with me my expensive bags and nice clothes or for some other destination I will take my comfy shoes and backpack. I don’t care. Or I could save a bit money and choose to fly with some low cost airline but spend a bit extra on accommodation. Anyway, I don’t want to label myself as a traveller. I go and do according to my feeling and according to the feeling of the place. I am everything, and nothing in particular. I follow the flow. Maybe this is my way of being and travelling for now.