Today is my last day in Iceland. Perhaps this captures my experience the most:
I have loved every minute of this experience. Iceland, in many respects, is the pilot for my future travel plans. I am off travelling around Africa and the Americas starting July this year. My first blog was about the backpack and initial learnings from the pilot. This update is about the learnings which I believe would apply for a long term travel experience.
1. Health is wealth
My right knee gave me trouble a few times. After walking for around 7 to 8 km at a stretch, the pain became quite intense. I have to see a physiotherapist as soon as I get back to London. One thing is for certain: I love walking and I love hiking so need to sort out my knee otherwise my potential Patagonian experience will be left wanting.
2. Healthy eating and drinking are critical
A beer a day after a long day out and about doesn’t see much but over a week it could easily be 5 to 7 pints and that matters. Similarly I have been sugaring it up with chocolates and muffins to boost energy and again I know this isn’t going to work for a long term travel experience. I have some ideas and the next 3 months would be ideal to test out my plan. I love beer and wine but it comes down to proportion and body management: I have to accept that daily drinking would take a negative toll on my body and health (maybe for others there is limited impact but for me there is an impact in the form of tiredness, fatigue etc). In addition, I need to increase my water intake substantially.
3. Cost management
I have been keeping a daily expense log and been under my daily budget so I am confident that I will be able to do the same longer term.
4. Relaxing and taking it easy
Long term travel is neither a sprint nor a marathon. It is an opportunity to embrace the world and you don’t need to running through a checklist or exhausting yourself to do so. I have learnt to take it slow, give up on trying to fit a lot in a day, and taking advantage of amenities such as wifi. I have been following the news, watching Netflix, sitting in cafes and watching the world go by etc. In other words, just living like I would back in London.
5. Becoming more social
I need to work on this. I am very comfortable as a person to be alone…infact I prefer it. However, if I am going to be on the road, i need to be able to be more open and social. I do make friends on the road (and some of them I am still in touch with) but as I get older each year, frankly speaking, I can’t be bothered with interactions just for the sake of it. Most interactions are superficial anyway. Having said that, I met someone from Texas yesterday and we chatted about various topics from Cuba, US elections, Education system to international politics. I enjoyed it very much. So more of this would be just fine with me.
I look forward to long term travel experience. There are many unanswered questions and most of the answers will be obtained on the road. For the moment, I am glad Iceland has given me more than an excellent travel experience. It had laid the foundation of what I hope is an exciting adventure around the world.