My mom likes to remind me of a story from when I was five and I was very passionate about animals. (Took me until I was 20 to become a vegetarian, though.) One day, I decided I was going to start a club to save the animals. Which ones? I don’t know. Just all of them. My tiny self made business cards on Microsoft something-or-other advertising a Save the Animals club meeting, at recess, on the playground.
Backpacking is booking a flight to Bali on a whim, dreaming of The Yoga Barn and walking through the Monkey Forest. Everyone at the yoga retreat in Cambodia encouraged a trip to Bali. Your mom wants you to go. You haven’t read Eat, Pray, Love, but you know a thing about heartbreak and could use a chat with a monk and a juice cleanse. Your Instagram following could use a boost and what’s $3 a night for accommodation? Sigh. Shrug. Pleasant ‘mmm.’
Backpacking is uncontrollable sobbing in your hostel dorm, sending a flurry of contradictory messages to people who are on the other side of the world, who are ready to go to bed or go out for the night. Something, which you’ve been sure was ‘hormones’ the past two days, has a grip on each of your lungs and each of your eyes, relentless. You’re out of balance and out of control and wondering at what point you’re going to have to accept your personal definition of “failure” and book the flight back home.
Backpacking is both of these events happening at the same time.