I was looking through some old photos in my hard disk, when I found an old photo of my classmate in high school. We were taking a pic for the opening of sports festival, so all of us was there. My mouse pointer hovering from one face to another… This guy moved to Singapore and become a successful entrepreneur in beauty products. This girl, she took her doctorate degree in Chemistry… I remember she always so good in chemistry class. This other guy, he keeps rocking in his world, last time I heard he went for cave diving in Thailand. This other guy, he was in a band with me, went to US after graduation and back again to become the successor of his family business.
When the pointer hovered to the pic of me… I saw myself, with funny hair and awkward smile. I remember that those were the time when my life was so simple; my ultimate goal at high school was that I could do slam dunk in basketball.
I was always a quiet guy, and I never like to go out and party. I always chose to stay at home, rarely go out even with friends. The thought of traveling never occurred to me even once; after all everything I needed was there, why bother go out of my city, or even my country?
Then few years ago, I was in a bad condition after a break up… It may seems a bit cliche but I didn’t do my job well, and I felt that I was just wasting my time, living without a goal. Though I tried to be seen as optimistic and confident, these were a hard time for me. Out of the blue, suddenly I’m having this image of a man, with a beard and wearing a beanie, carrying a backpack. He was standing on a cliff, looking at the horizon, a little smile on his face. Maybe that was an advertisement or image I saw and I didn’t even remember where I saw it, but that image stuck on me. I like the spirit represented by it… For me, it pictures the feeling of being free in a strange land. Free to go wherever he want, the sky is the compass and the backpack is his best friend. I want to feel it, too… What it’s like to be wandering around on this big world, while I’m only sitting in one corner of it my whole life?
I talked with my buddy about this, and he agreed to accompany me. We planned our journey to go to as much country as we can with as minimum budget as possible, simply just to prove ourselves that we could do it. We went to Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia… And that’s when it bit me. The Travel Bug. The Wanderlust. The Itchy Feet. Like a switch suddenly got turned on inside my head. On the train journey from Cambodia border to Bangkok, it bit me even harder… The idea of travel, the feeling of seeing a new place and all kinds of unpredictable events, waiting to be experienced.
It changed me, and I’m grateful of it. The insatiable feeling to be in someplace away, free and always moving. Solitary journey where I have to be responsible and challenge myself to survive, while having the time and space to hear what mind can share. The curiosity of a child in seeing something new and talking to new people, sharing knowledge and fun.