Maybe now you are beginning to understand why people stay in their 9-5 jobs, why they go on vacations to exotic places, yet stay in resorts that try to imitate some ideal version of where they just left. People (and animals) are not comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. They need something fixed, something stable. Each day needs to be somewhat predictable. The (or rather a) difference between you and them is that you have taken chaos as your predictable environment. You have chosen, or it has chosen you, an environment where the odd and the dumb and the frustrating IS your familiar environment. A day without problems to solve would seem unstable. You say you want a boring life for a change. Then, I suggest you continue doing what you have been doing. You want a challenge, then go back to the US and get a full time cubicle job. For you, that would be a serious challenge. THAT is your sub-Saharan African rain-forest adventure. That is your deep dark dangerous environment.
I listen to (uhh, errr, read?) you criticize *tourists* and realize that you are a tourist. Just a VERY different one. For you, a resort is a place where you can work your 9-5 job, which appears to be learning how to survive or adapt to environments that most tourists would wilt in, and feel like you are home. As you say, you are living out there, not vacationing, but in a way, you are a tourist. Although, frankly, I have never found a description of the differences between a tourist and a traveler that satisfies me.
Although, you are not exactly a traveler either. You live in different places. Maybe only for a short time, IF you think of a city as the *place* you live in. But if you modify *place* to be, say, the Philippines, or even Asia, then, maybe you are living in a place long enough to be considered a temporary resident.
Or not...... Just thinking out loud here. I am going to go have a beer and come back and read this post to see if it still makes any sense.
Traveler Versus Tourist needs to be defined by comparing and contrasting.
This is not really on the topic, but could you reccomend some other travel blogs of world travelers you may know. I like reading travel blogs, but I find that many quit after a year (actually they only really plan for a year). I seem to keep finding blogs after their travels are over, which isnt as much fun reading. As far as the topic goes I have to admit that I like to travel, but after a few weeks of being away from the USA I feel a pull to come back. What is interesting to me is when I travel within the USA, I dont feel the longing to come home. I think it may be a matter of comfort, but I think it is mostly a factor of culture. If you are an American, your going to seek out American things. I see it in your blog posts, you seem to like to see a little bit of different things, but I notice you hang out a lot in American looking diners and talk to a lot of expats, not a bad thing, but I think it is just your culture showing.
Going in a diner to eat is not a day, it is one hour of 24 hours.
People focus on one day, while I focus on the whole year. I spend 4-5 months in East Africa and before that two months in Pucallpa, Peru. I spent almost 6-8 months immersed in other cultures with zero interaction with Americans.
I am one of the few travelers who actually is immersed for months in a culture, most never leave their cultures. If you studied travelers going to Kenya, you will see the majority hang around Nairobi to guarantee conversations. I never stayed in Nairobi.
Philippines, I just went to Nagudpud with a Thailand girl, there were no expats there, or in Vigan, I was immersed in Thailand culture and Philippines culture.
I quite often travel the same way. Oh, yes, sometimes my trips will center around meeting someone or visiting a relative somewhere in another country but usually stepping off a train and then deciding where to stay or go is the fun. Not a lot of women like to travel this way. I believe it would be difficult to find someone that can totally relate because how many people have done what youve done? I believe Bob is right to a certain degree about working in a cubicle being your challenging nightmare. But then again, why would one want to do that? What would it prove? I also believe that there IS a big difference between a tourist and a traveler. And I know one when I see one. Basically you have been living the way you have for so long for whatever reasons, and maybe its not as carefree anymore. I mean, Im leaving the first of the year for at least 1-2 years on the road and I was fascinated with the number of positions you have available to work for you. This indicates that you have built quite an enterprise out of your traveling. You have found a way to pay your way to come and go as you please. But have you? It seems your cry is not so much for stability in the parochial sense. I think the best sentence was about not having to make any decisions or not wanting to answer any questions. Maybe you need a vacation?! Remember, the grass is never greener on the other side and even if it was it still needs to be mowed. If I were you Id pick my 4 favorite places, get a permanent place there, apartment or something, and use those as pseudo home bases. You will get back a little feeling of control over your environment whenever you walk in, no matter how minimalist, without compromising what you are doing. Its your life man. Youre allowed to change the definitions of nirvana. P.S. I think I speak for a lot of us when I ask - does your girlfriend do anything that doesnt irritate you?
My life has been out of balance for the last 6-8 months, I spend two months in Central and South America and then 4-5 months in East Africa. Then one miserable month in Thailand, I do not tally well the amount of time out of balance, but I know I am seeking people around me who are stable.
People are always the problem, and my girlfriend assisted in making my live miserable in Thailand. Her life was out of balance, she has quit the job that was destroying our friendship.
I am slowly forgiving her, and I suppose she is slowly forgiving me for not living in Thailand and traveling the majority of the year.
I have made the decisions to not allow bad or lower cultural behavior to rule my life, and / or to be tolerant of it.
Example: Lying to save face.
Example: Her not talking to me in front of Thai people because the culture is racist against Farang.
Generally if you look at foreigners who marry in other countries, they do not collect their friends from the groups of available locals. They have expats from Western countries as their friends. They are living in a country and more or less brought along their friends.
Expats often are close to sociopath in guilt or love aspects, they are capable of feeling guilt or love, it is not required that you show love, commitment or to care when you live outside your home country. I on the other hand know my family and friends and I never tried to divorce them, I try to keep them.
I am still a patriate, I am not an expatriate.
I am not sure whether a person should make a decision whether they like or dislike another person. I dislike certain behaviours of my Girlfriend. I have told her, I have no patience for you right now, I am burnt out.
Example: I do not want to talk patiently with a person who does not speak English fluently. I do not wish to tolerate when she does not understand and does not tell me. I am tired of working so hard to communicate.
I just need time to allow my mind to plays all the files into their proper files. I call this the gobblygoop factor.
I am abnormal in my honesty, I do not macho out and pretend I am perfect. I know this hiding of my feelings will not lead me to Nirvana or some higher level of self-actualization on Maslows scale.
I need to be honest, I am fully cognizant though that readers are not my personal friends, they hide behind layers of anonymity as i also do.
I have many friends, I will sit on Skype for the next month and all all of them, regain the levels of intimacy I need.
Talking and admitting who we is considered a weakness or a problem in almost all cultures, it is my great strength. A person with secrets will have their secrets used against them, I am well by how secret I am, not by being private
Ha! Youre a trip. For all of you people out there that have traveled a lot have you ever noticed that when you introduce one of your best friends to another one of your best friends they immediately get along? I think its we are who we hang out with, and there are certain commonalities that exist for us all as human. If youve been blessed with the ability to be aware, to be self-effacing is easy. Isnt it funny how the problem isnt admitting problems we have, its figuring out how to solve them? Thats ok. I think just being aware is 80. I imagine theres pretty much no sacred cows with you, man. I do hope to run into you one of these days. Just dont carry too many boulders in your knapsack, eh? They come out funny in the MRIs.