I like maps. I’ve always liked maps. Claire and Gemma would regularly, but briefly, lose me as we walked around the streets of Asia. Probably 9 times out of 10, it’d be because I’d stopped to look at a roadside map, or the map on my phone.
I have realised more than ever my need to know where I am. I need this map of my geographical area, but perhaps also for my life. Geographically, I need to know where I’m going, and how I will get there ‘the most direct way’, but in terms of life maybe not so much. Of course, I’ve also learnt I also need to know where I’m coming from, and where I need to get back to, where is my home?
By the way this app Maps.ME is an absolute must for any would-be travellers out there! Or just people walking in their countries; you can download maps for the country you’re headed to. It often has info on walking tracks, loos, cafes.. And it’s totally free. I’m not getting any commission honest!
My need for a coffee pot – At the start of our trip, after a few weeks of enviously, watching, our fellow continental-European campers, make fresh ground coffee each morning in their variously shaped coffee pots; I decided I wanted my own. So then comes the saga involving my, (less than successful) but very much deliberated purchase of my own ‘coffee pot’, which… turned out to be astronomically bad at making coffee. This was about half way through, our three months budget-camping around Europe, accounting for every cent spent. So it was a big deal.
It turns out after multiple cups of very grainy coffee, that I couldn’t seem to avoid, that it was actually a milk frother.. which may, just have been where the problem lay… So, needless to say, me and the (ahem) ‘coffee pot’ went our separate ways.
I hesitate to add that Claire had asked me why, when it said ‘Cappuccino maker’ on the box I thought it would be a coffee pot; but sometimes when you want something that much, you make it be what you want it to be. Claire obviously didn’t let me forget about that incident for a while!
Well jump to a few months later, and me and Claire are in South East Asia, coincidentally reading Committed. A follow up to Liz Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love , which in part, describes her and her partner’s journeying around the very same countries we happened to be in. Well, we both burst into laughter as she describes her and Felipe’s arguments whilst on the road, resulting in his conclusion “I need a coffee pot”. Now, I think I and Felipe shared a similar sentiment in the need for this; not just literally for the benefit of the good fresh coffee every now again, that’s actually affordable; but also the benefit of having something that is ours, a sense of our ‘home’ regardless of who’s actual home we are in, it’s our creature comfort.
The kitchen sink? Well.. almost.
We essentially have ended up with a mini travelling kitchen. Yes, along with the mini coffee pot; comes a mug each, a mini chopping board, a washing-line, a higgledy-piggledy set of Tupperware, at least one bag of pasta/rice, herbs/spices, a lemon squash concentrate, that’s been going since we bought it in Perth in November, tea bags, a supply of biscuits, in previously stated Tupperware, and 2 forks (recently reduced from 3 to 2 by airport security, who only noticed one of them)!
This has meant, we are not travelling as ‘light’ as we would sometimes like to. Especially when lugging your backpack on a hot sticky walk.. However, it’s meant we’ve been easily able to feel at home, wherever we are. It also saves us money; we can turn up somewhere for one night only, and be able to cook a simple pasta dish, without having to purchase expensive items from the small corner shop, or eat out, like you might do on a more typical holiday. Not to mention, it can be nice to know the hygiene state of the mug you’re drinking from! Thanks to fellow travellers, we’ve also, often ended up being given freebies (dry foods, tea, coffee, soaps, laundry soap etc), which again saves time and money, and we return this back to the travelling community when we can.
A home – Anyone who’s travelled for any extended length of time, will know about travel fatigue. Not just the actual tiredness from flights, lack of sleep or time changes, but the weary feeling of adjusting to new sounds, sights, places and faces day in day out. A certain amount of change is great, I think its vital. Whether we’re at home doing a 9-5 job, bringing up children or the other side of the world living our travelling dreams. But in any scenario, at least for me, I also need some stability and consistency. And this is where Workaways have really benefitted me. I write about the concept of Workaway and its rewards here: Travel for free? There is such a thing as a free lunch* (sort of!). It means I get to rest my head on the same pillow for 5, 7, 10 even 35 nights in a row, to call it home. Home for me has become having a favourite park or favourite walk, knowing where I can buy my necessities, and having time to hand wash and dry my clothes, or even use a washing machine if I’m lucky!
So what I’ve discovered about my needs over this year, is, in part, why we have decided to find ourselves a camper! To have a travelling ‘home’, a balance of certainty and change is our dream. Watch this space!