Travel Personality

As You Like (To See) It, A Traveler's Melancholy

Though relatively young, and therefore jovial, and the product of a content childhood packed with humor, I've grown into someone that is constantly asked:

Are you unhappy?

Fijian Funeral Week

Fijian Funeral Week

Bawling at the table in my Italian family's home, seeming a mystery to the black and white of intercontinental correspondence, being irrationally testy at home, where the bubble is supposed to pet and nurture positivity; evidence seems to side with either insanity or discontentment. Why do I move, and therefore search, without landing on what will actually placate my soul? Am I attempting to obtain something intentional that is completely out of reach? Does no destination stop the longing to be somewhere else?

Am I carving my lifestyle with a bitter blade that hopes its creation won't win?

Whoa…I laid it on fast and deep, right into the pit of a wanderer's insatiable quandary - the unavoidable knife that static souls jab into the sides of vibrating shadows in the daylight.

What makes a person happy?

For what is a traveler traveling?

Are we unhappy, or does the world fulfill us?

And if it doesn't, what could ever hope to fulfill someone if the world cannot?

These aren't the constant thoughts in my head, as a brain with these fly-by musings would pound itself into whatever wall is closest. However, there are triggers in life that create wormholes for these trains of thought to come through. Yesterday's trigger was a movie by William Shakespeare, As You Like It.

As You Like It

As You Like It

Now, I'm aware that spouting off conceptual prose and quoting Shakespeare immediately makes me seem like an elitist with my four fingers in my buttons like a forefather. I watched this movie because it was at the library, because I'm hoping to learn more about storytelling and cinematography, and because I realized that approaching Shakesperean English the way I approach Spanish yields the same general understanding that reveals more to me of the language than I knew before.

In this play, a woman, exiled to the woods where she disguises herself as a boy for safety, spends a little time chatting with a man who is often found dragging his feet and wallowing in his own gloom. You may call him a melancholy fellow, if you talked like a 16th century Brit. I found the following passage to be amusing, hopefully not seeing my own reflection with too much clarity in the man's visage.

They say you're a melancholy fellow.

I am so. I do love it better than laughing.

Those that are an extremity of either are abominable fellows and betray themselves to every modern censure worse than drunkards.

Why? Tis good to be sad and say nothing.

Why then? Tis good to be a post.

I have neither the scholar's melancholy, which is emulation, nor the musician's, which is fantastical, nor the courtier's, which is proud, nor the soldier's, which is ambitious, nor the lawyer's, which is politic, nor the lady's, which is nice, nor the lover's, which is all these, but it is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness.

A traveler? By my faith you have great reason to be sad. I fear you've sold your own lands to see other man's, and to have seen much and have nothing is to have rich eyes and poor hands.

…..Yes. I have gained my experience.

I'd rather have a fool to make me merry than an experience to make me sad. And to travel for it, too…

Rosalind from As You Like It

Rosalind from As You Like It

I'm no master interpreter of Old Billy Boy, and since we know smarty boys like Frost love the satisfaction of deceptive prose, I'm hesitant to think the literal meaning of this dialogue is the point he's trying to make.

Is the traveler a fool, to make himself a hobo and satisfied only by other's possessions, from which he himself runs?

Is the traveler a fool, to find richness in experiences that can be lost with a quick blow to the head, though things can be lost just as quickly?

Is the traveler a sad fool, hoping to convince everyone he has harnessed the richness of the world's best?

And so I conclude my rambling in hopes I hear from you, the reader. If it's not necessarily melancholy but a deep and pensive state, do you feel Shakespeare is making a sad observation of travelers? Is this a dated view of possessions vs. experiences? What do you think of this passage and concept?

Comment below or contact me personally. I'm interested in dialogues, and without a rebuttal or echo, I'm merely talking to myself.

Consume & Update: Free Calls, Valuable Time, and Space Capone

You learn something new every day. Well today's post is going to help you make up for last night's nonsense fest...whatever it is that you did...

What's Your Travel Personality?

Thought it would be fun to poll you, the readers, to see what kind of travel personalities find themselves on Nomadderwhere! Brave New Traveler published a story this week based on the Enneagram test results describing a travel style. Go ahead and take the test if you'd like, or just tells us below: what's your travel personality?

Down With The Roaming Fees!

This is a video by AlmostFearless.com on how to make free calls from anywhere in the world (that has wifi). Real help for me and my Blackberry...hopefully that's the next episode!

Get Wealthy With Time: A Practical Guide

Rolf Potts guest posted on Tim Ferriss' blog this week, and I found it quite well-written and full of great concepts. Though it's darn near epic in length, it offers great resources at the end and quality explanations of why time is an important currency to deal in. He notes that there's a difference in living well and doing well. I've exhibited some paragraphs I though were particularly pivotal.

This notion — that material investment is somehow more important to life than personal investment — is exactly what leads so many of us to believe we could never afford to go vagabonding. The more our life options get paraded around as consumer options, the more we forget that there’s a difference between the two. Thus, having convinced ourselves that buying things is the only way to play an active role in the world, we fatalistically conclude that we’ll never be rich enough to purchase a long-term travel experience.

Fortunately, the world need not be a consumer product. As with environmental integrity, long-term travel isn’t something you buy into: it’s something you give to yourself. Indeed, the freedom to go vagabonding has never been determined by income level, but through simplicity — the conscious decision of how to use what income you have.

...Fortunately, we were all born with winning tickets – and cashing them in is a simple matter of altering our cadence as we walk through the world. Vagabonding sage Ed Buryn knew as much: “By switching to a new game, which in this case involves vagabonding, time becomes the only possession and everyone is equally rich in it by biological inheritance. Money, of course, is still needed to survive, but time is what you need to live. So, save what little money you possess to meet basic survival requirements, but spend your time lavishly in order to create the life values that make the fire worth the candle. Dig”

The Pickle Called Reverse Culture Shock

I always have issues with coming home, which is probably facilitated by the facts that my 1. trips often last over 2.5 months and 2. lifestyle is usually akin to voluntary poverty while abroad. This week at Matador, Brittany Vargas phrases some great realities on why this transition period is the way it is.

Often the wisdom we acquire during long journeys is most evident only after we’ve returned to where we began. Coming back to once-familiar territory highlights the changes that were too subtle to notice as they occurred...So there is no way of predicting how we will adjust once we’ve come “home” – or how well others will adjust to us.

Other Discoveries

Chris Guillebeau sheds some perspective on enjoying the moment while still looking forward to what's happening next.

Let's all hope Gary gets home soon.

In honor of my next destination: Insomniac City (don't people know about melatonin?)

Don't worry, U.S. Department of State. I'm not heading to any of the scary Mexican states.

Update on Nomadderwhere

5-14 Blog

I've started packing! Less than two weeks stand between me and New York City. Not sure what I'm talking about? Read up on how my blog got me a travel job that's sending me to Mexico!

Also read up on the fast-approaching completion of The Nakavika Project chronicles. I'll be wrapping up these stories in preparation for real-time reporting from Mexico, and these stories are getting to the best of the bunch...believe me.

This week at Nomadderwhere:

  • A Gracious Thank You on Mother's Day: How my mom has dealt with her traveling daughter's adventures and her recent mother's passing

  • Reviewing a Road Trip to Des Moines: Hopefully inspiring others to look at their own video work and realize where it can go from here.

  • When Your Dreams Play Hard-To-Get: A guest post from recent World Traveler Intern finalist, Annie Leroux, and her positive note to those seeking an extraordinary path without free passes to success.

  • Independence in a Communal Society: A Fijian flashback to when Garrett and I returned from our Christmas vacation to the coast with the new responsibilities of household keeping, cooking, and fitting into a foreign society.

  • Feet Don't Fail Me Now: A guest post by Garrett Russell about his traumatic foot infection and the realization of being the only person who could save himself.

  • The Addition and Subtraction of Lives: Garrett leaves the village. Garrett and Jackie arrive in the village. A man in the village suffers a fatal heart attack. This is a flashback to mid-January, when a sad turn of events took place in Nakavika.

On an unrelated but important note: May 7th marked the release of Space Capone's second volume. If you like disco, falsetto voices, fantastic boogie music, or something to play for your next retro skating rink party, he's the one to blast. Don't worry; it's on iTunes. And by the way...he's family.