Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Have you gone round the bend yet?

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”

― Lao Tzu
The back packers of the sixties and seventies, those that I had the opportunity to come into contact with and befriend were mostly from Europe and not too many from the United States. More Americans came to Penang as the Vietnam War progressed and the Island became one of the places for R&R for the soldiers. Most of the backpackers were genuine in their interest to learn about the local cultures and most were polite and tolerant of the life and expectations that they found here like the standard of living is below what they were used to back home. There was genuine mutual respect developed between the visitors and the locals and a whole lot of sharing whether it be food or lodging the hospitality extended towards travellers by locals was a positive happening and most travellers left the country with genuine good feeling and a memory worth keeping to take home with.

 “To travel is to live.”
- Hans Christian Andersen

  "The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.”

― G.K. Chesterton
Today, most travellers or backpackers are of a younger age and most are still in school or colleges and their interest and expectations are of a different nature as they are more pampered in their lifestyle and taste most are merely tourists looking tor as much action for least of price. They merely touch the surface of the cultures they visit as they are more keen on visiting more places than being interested in being in a few for a longer period of time, enough to have a good sense of the culture and the lifestyle of the locals. To be able to spend time long enough to get a good taste of the life of the society one visits is more so valuable than being able to say I have visited many countries in my travels. Those who can afford to travel as tourists would often be heard claiming that Switzerland is beautiful with its snow capped mountains and large lakes but China is cheaper although more  hectic and not so clean, Nepal is full of narrow streets and cobbled stones but its air is filled with spiritual energy; Dubai is a sand castle. tourists touches the surface of life where they visit.
 “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other  lives, other souls.”
Anais Nin - The Diary of Anais Nin Vol. 7 1966-74.
The more daring and adventurous travellers today are becoming less in numbers, these are the long term travellers or as some would call themselves 'seekers,' they grow old on the road and some even die while still going from one place to another like a global nomad. I have met many of this kind of travellers while i was living on the East Coast in the State of Terengganu where I used to hang out at 'Awi's Yellow House, (Google it for details). This Yellow House is well known among the seasoned backpackers from around the world and many return every year and practically lived in the small huts built on the river where the toilet is just a hole in the floor. I dare say that it is a meeting place of great minds as most of those who frequent this place were later in age and has some kind of personal reason for travelling the world, like some being writers while others collectors or artists, and they are on the move to satisfy their vocational needs. As the yellow House is located on the river, there are always those who sail across the seas and anchor their boats next to the chalets to find rest, Each and everyone brought along their own stories to share while each and every individual's privacy is fully observed and respected.
One may not find a five star facility in such an establishment but there is a greater comfort that money cannot buy and if one is able and willing to rough it out, just like the locals, places like these will always be worth travelling for.   

 “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving."

Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full Sky

Quotes from -Hostelfy Me, com


No comments: