Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bring me that horizon

Thats what a ship is, you know. Its not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails... thats what a ship needs. But what a ship is ... is freedom. -Captain Jack Sparrow

We bought backpacks yesterday. Real, heavy-duty, go camping with, can-carry-everything-we're-taking-to-Guatemala style backpacks. The ones we bought are large and sturdy enough to carry 30 pounds of stuff, but strap down small enough to be taken as carry-on when flying. They were pretty expensive, but as we were buying them, I started thinking about the implications, and got really excited.

The next time someone invites us to go backpacking, the barriers to doing so will be so much smaller. Instead of having to figure out where to rent, borrow, or maybe buy a backpack, we'll have them already. We know they fit, and that they remain comfortable, and we'll already know how to pack them.

Every time I go traveling in the future, instead of having to deal with an awkward and unwieldy suitcase, I'll be able to just pack up my backpack and carry everything on my back. This means that upon arrival I'll be less dependent on wheeled transport, less dependent on having a place immediately to drop off my bags, and more free to wing it and explore.


I've been getting more and more interested in other cultures and history for several years now, but I've had difficulty actually getting myself to leave my comfort zone and travel abroad. You no longer need a ship to see the world, travelling to almost anywhere on earth now costs less than a year's savings.

Unfortunately, there are still numerous barriers to the freedom of exploring it, most of them self imposed. My trip to Israel last summer (first international travel since I was leaving High School) started to break down the internal barriers, and as I've gotten more comfortable with our planned Guatemala trip I've also started daydreaming more and more about additional trips to locations around the globe. Owning a backpack is one more barrier down.

We'll see how things go. I'm sure this trip will stretch me not only in the ways I'm anticipating, but in others I have yet to imagine. But I'm starting to lose more and more of my internally created barriers to freedom, and more and more eager to travel beyond my current horizons.

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