An Even Stronger Wanderlust PT 1 OF 6
January 17, 2022
“If there is one thing that has come out of the pandemic for me, it is a feeling of deep frustration and a deep need to now plan a time in the not to far future to put on my backpack and explore the world.”
I recently posted this comment (above) on Facebook; and I really meant it. What a strange year last year was? I remember at New Year 2021 Boris Johnson, our ridiculous Prime Minister (UK) telling us how 2021 was going to be a magnificent year and we would start moving on from Covid. If anything its been worse. I did not believe it in 2021, I just had a feeling; the energy was negative.
But on New year 2022, when the fireworks went off all around my local area, I felt a massive feeling of optimism, of hope for a much better year, the energy was right and the world could be mine again.
(Above) Hampton, Greater London, where I live in the UK
I see myself as a global nomad, an explorer of our beautiful world, travel is in my blood, my heart and my free spirit. And so, how frustrating it is not to be able to travel because of Covid…
I was determined to get to Goa at the end of 2021 but Omricon and India’s issues with the UK government meant it was not an easy endeavour.
First India said we had to quarantine for 7 days on arrival and we had to have several Covid PCR tests; all a bit much for me. But eventually Virgin cancelled my flight and that was that. I would not be going to India in 2021.
I felt more optimistic in 2022, Omicron was found to be 90% less likely to make you ill, PCR tests on arrival back in the UK were abolished and even India admitted things were better than they had thought and their initial reaction had been a little over cautious.
And so I found a cheap (£500) flight to Goa with Tui for February 2022 and even booked my accommodation; things were looking up.
Then, on a Friday evening Tui emailed me telling me my flight had been cancelled due to the ‘situation’ in India and they would not reinstate flights until November. The India Government are really shooting themselves in the foot here and in danger of making us all feel like they no longer want foreign tourists (especially the British).
So that was that, I finally gave up on trying to get to Goa for this season.
Another place I have been very interested in visiting is Sri Lanka, because it could be the place I go to in order to avoid visa issues in India once I become a Goa longstayer.
I hear its beautiful, only a short flight from India and has two well known hippie beaches.
So, now I am trying to book there for February and boy, so far its been 100% easier. There are none of the hoops to jump through that India has, no quarantine and they want to welcome us with open arms: your loss India!
I hope India softens its approach to tourism, and especially UK citizens, so that we can go back to the travel situation we were used to (e-visas etc). But in the meantime, Sri Lanka is looking very promising, I just have to get my refund on my Tui flight first which will take up to 14 days.
Below is the Sri Lankan visa website, warm, friendly and happy for us to come.
After this next trip I’m planning on the big one: Thailand, Nepal and India for several months starting late October.
But what is it about travel for me, why am I so addicted to being on the move, having adventures abroad?
Where has my wanderlust come from and where will it eventually lead me?
Ever fancied travelling the world yourself? Vagabonding here and there, a backpack on your back and an excited spirit in your heart.
Go for it and really live life, Hippie Kushi style!
Here’s what I can tell you based on all my travels:
“ Vagabonding is about looking for adventure in normal life, and normal life within adventure. Vagabonding is an attitude-a friendly interest in people, places, and things that makes a person an explorer in the truest, most vivid sense of the word. Vagabonding is not a lifestyle, nor is it a trend. It’s just an uncommon way of looking at life-a value adjustment from which action naturally follows. And, as much as anything, vagabonding is about time-our only real commodity-and how we choose to use it.”
Rolf Potts – Vagabonding: An uncommon guide to the art of long-term world travel -Villard Books – 2003
From my books, Hippie Kush books 1 & 2:
To travel the world is to find beauty, to experience, to feel elation. There are some breath-taking places around the globe waiting to be discovered. Travel is about meeting new people, exploring new cultures, religions, and traditions. If you want to find a way to expand your mind, change your mindset. Stop with the two-week package holidays that only give you a sterile glimpse of a place, instead, choose to really travel; for weeks, months, years…or even indefinitely.
People often say to those who wish to travel long term: “Don’t you want to settle down and get married, have children?” “What about your career?” “What about security?” “What are you really escaping from?” “Or running away from?” But these questions hold no relevance to those with a free spirit.
Escaping? Running away? Too lazy to hold down a career. None of these things describes most people’s reasons for wanting to go vagabonding around the world; they are not my reasons either.
It is much more about a single defining word: freedom; the freedom to just go, to put that backpack on and hit the road. The freedom to explore new places, new cultures, meet new people and explore new minds, but most importantly it’s about finding ourselves and growing from that special life-changing moment; it seems like a spiritual thing to me.
16-year-old me (above) at home in Portslade, Sussex, England.
When I was about eight years old, I was on a bus with my two brothers and my mum, travelling out of Brighton (my home city) on our way to a country fayre. As you come out of Brighton there is a large park that travels up a hill. It is covered in woodland and for a child it seemed like a jungle. As we waited there, stuck in traffic opposite that park, I looked out of the window and saw four people coming out of the forest, two men and two women. Each had a backpack on their backs, and they were all walking with hiking sticks. I looked at those four with wonder, what adventure had they just been on in that jungle?
This triggered something in me that has stayed with me all my life.
I suddenly felt a deep magnetic draw towards that forest, and I started to create a fantasy in my mind about running away from home (and my violent father) with just a backpack on my back, in order to explore that forest before setting off on a grander adventure around the world. My wanderlust for travel had begun.
I did not have a happy childhood, far from it. My childhood was full of brutality and hatred, mental and physical abuse; my father was and still is an unkind man. So, perhaps even from my childhood, I have been wanting to escape, to run, to travel to someplace more colourful (not grey and limiting), a place more friendly and full of hope (not full of hate and intolerance) …
…someplace where I can look up towards the sun and smile.
There were many times after this that my growing dream of travelling the world was stimulated further. My first proper job was at the BBC (radio and TV) and later ITV (UK independent television) in their catering departments. I met some fascinating people during those times from every corner of the world. Their stories of exciting places all around the globe pushed my wanderlust to bursting point.
This work financed my partying years, nights out at Heaven and G.A.Y nightclubs. Heady days full of dancing, techno, house parties and drugs. I must admit this period also took its toll, luckily, I soon recognised when it was time to calm things down.
Following this period I travelled a lot, a wonderful ‘once in a lifetime’ horse riding trip through the jungles of Brazil, I also crossed America by Greyhound bus and I had a few train adventures throughout Europe. Once I even travelled all the way down to Morocco by National Express coach. I even spent a year working as a teacher in The Gambia, Africa.
Six years of my more recent life were spent as a mature student at Hackney College, London and then Roehampton University, studying psychotherapy. Once again, I met some amazing people, many of whom I keep in touch with to this day. The things I learnt during that course changed my way of looking at the world (and myself) forever. I will never be sorry I did that degree, even though I no longer pursue counselling as a career. It has positively influenced my life in every way and for that I am eternally grateful.
After having some serious health issues in 2006, I went through a really dark period, and it changed me in ways that now make me shudder. I started hating the way I looked, and this meant I stopped enjoying going out. My life in general became conservative and boring. These were my grey years, I let go of my ambition, and my horizons began to decrease. I lost my confidence and worst of all I fell out of love with myself; I had lost my way.
But then in 2016, I went to Goa and everything changed for me enormously, I rekindled my love for all things hippie as well as the love I felt for myself and for travel.
Life has its chapters, and this current life chapter is my best so far. My new hippie life is full of joy, kinship, and love.