The other night I was out for dinner with a group of backpacker here in Montanita and I was chatting to Gijs and Flo about food.
There we were stuffing our faces with some delicious treats and we were chatting about what to have for lunch the following day.
I flagged it up and mentioned how food is a staple conversation piece in our day to day lives and Gijs’ response pointed out the obvious, something I’d never really considered before –
“that’s because life here in Montanita is simple, it reduces your thoughts and actions to basic needs, so that’s what we end up talking about.”
And it’s totally true – conversation here revolves around 4 key points; food, surf, partying and travel plans.
But the more I thought about it the more I realised that this was totally true about the backpacker bubble in general.
Eat, Sleep, Surf Repeat
On my adventures I really do live the simple life, my worries are generally put aside and the focus of my day is usual the beach, what I did the night before and what food I want to put in my belly.
This mindset is what makes the backpacker bubble – it’s a carefree world where the troubles home can be avoided and where you’re surrounded by people living and equally carefree world. It’s been the elephant in the room for me – I’ve never fully taken check of how simple my life really has become on the road, how my priorities have totally changed and how my mindset, communication and day to day actions have reflected this.
The topic of conversation I’ve had over the last 2 years has been varied but very same same. Not in a bad way – but the more I think about it the more I realise it’s been pretty limited.
And I totally love that.
Home v Away
At home work defines you and conversation. When you meet someone it’s one of the first questions you usually get asked – what you do or how your day at work was.
It’s a shit thing to think about now, how work is the focus of modern life and how much I and everyone I knew moaned about the day to day grind, customers pissing you off and the horrific morning commute.
Now my conversation is about veggie fajitas, what factor of suncream is best in South America v Asia, what the wind and waves were doing in the morning and how it’ll an out over the weekend. The best hostels, the worst hostels, the best place to grab a cocktail and where the cheapest snack stand in town is…it’s all about fun things, relevant things.
And with this comes a distinct lack of negativity. I don’t find that conversation bores me or depressed me in anyway.
It’s engaging, it’s distracting – it’s what it should be…social.
Live The Simple Life
The more I look at it the more I travel the more simple life becomes. Sure I have my vices (Apple tech being the biggest!) but generally these days I’m far from materialistic. I don’t yearn for a fancy car, a massive mortgage, the latest flat screen TV or games console.
Nope these days I just want friendly faces, good conversation and a nice bed to sleep in.
I’m not obsessed by the gaining of wealth (I wont lie though I still need money as I still need it to travel!) but I don’t hunt down 90 hour a week jobs with 6 figure salaries, nor do I ever want to.
I’m content with working a few hours a day for accommodation, trading some time taking some pictures for someone in exchange for a free meal.
I just need enough to get by, put food in my belly and save enough to get to the next place.
I’ve also stopped reading the news (another thing I’ve adopted from the 4 Hour Work Week Book)- and that’s been a HUGE influence in my new lifestyle.
News today is totally negative and bluntly put – bias and shit.
…and conversation follows suit when you talk about the news.
Well I’ve got news for you guys – life is freaking awesome and non of the things on the news have even remotely affected me on my travels. If something is uber important or relevant someone will tell me about (like this week I was told about the whole Malaysian Airlines thing…) but until that happens think about it – do you really need to know?!
This simple life has also freed up a heap of time. Time for me. Time to think. Time to work on other things – I’ve launched a few websites in the last couple years, I’ve accomplished so many things that I’ve had on my bucket list and I’ve got another big project almost ready to go this year.
An office job at home crushed my creative spirit and my head was too clouded to be fully productive.
And overall my life was a bit of a mess and full of things I didn’t really need.
People, possessions, thoughts and conversations.
Learn From Travel
The bottom line is that the travelling life strips out all of the crap you might be carrying around. It streamlines your train of thought, your possessions, your lifestyle, the people you talk to.
Fair enough travel isn’t for everyone – but everyone can learn something from it.
Do you really need to talk about work being horrible?
Do you really need to struggle working for that new sofa?
Does anyone really care you just got a raise?
I bet if you ask yourself honestly the answer will be no.
Embrace the simple life, try a different conversation, try having a backpacker conversation with someone in your office.
Free up some time, sell some stuff, cut out the people bringing anything but smiles and fun into your world – you’d be surprised where it might take you!