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15 Years of Perpetual Travel by Andy Lee Graham
I, Andy Lee Graham as of March 1, 2013 declare that I have now perpetually traveled the planet for 15 years, and have visited 90 countries.
“All lies and jests,
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest. “
- Lyric from song “The Boxer.”
A traveler never lives in the same home, room, hotel, or apartment longer than three months.
Are you a traveler?
“I am a traveler.”
Yes, many people are indeed a traveler for one month, one year, and even a few for three years. Many people living abroad wish to declare themselves a world traveler.
The “Are you a traveler test?”
With only two questions, you can learn whether a person understands the life of a traveler. Please, I beg you, I plead with you, do not celebrate, or romanticize the traveler lifestyle, it is not the dream, I am not living the dream, and you should not aspire to become a perpetual traveler of the planet.
It is my lifestyle, one never plans to become a perpetual traveler, only after 10 years, and does one finally accept his or her life.
Ask these two questions to decide if a person is a traveler?
1. Do you own a home?
2. Do you rent by the year?
3. Do you pay for storage, where do you keep your mementos, the family photos, the things you wish to never lose?
The Answer: It is logistically almost impossible to own, rent, or NOT pay for long-term storage.
I have a family bible, photos; many people have identifications, or certifications saying they graduated from High School, or University, and other documents that are irreplaceable. Maybe your grandmother gave you a family heirloom, a ring that has been passed down from generation to generation.
Listen to the answer of the traveler, and then please stop asking…
I store my mementos and family heirlooms in my parent’s house, in Orland, Indiana of the USA. After about 7-10 years of travel, when I stopped to visit my parents, I looked at pile of my things the size of a small car, and decide to throw away 80 percent of these things, knowing that I had no future use.
I trashed everything that had utility use, for example, a briefcase; I knew it would never be used again in my life. Many crazy things I considers valuable and stored at year three of my travels, slowly age and become worthless at year 10.
It takes a lot of energy, trust and energy to protect my mementos, and family heirlooms.
My parents are 80 years old and somewhere in the nest 5-15 years, I will return to the USA, rent storage the size of a closet, and pay 2-10 years into the future, with the hope of protecting these items.
After having these items sitting in your family, or friends place for over a year or two, they start to believe they have the right to move, separate, or use your person things.
I had 8 of the Survivor Thailand headbands; I collected them when I was on the Island of Koh Taratao, shortly after they filmed this non-Reality show on the Island. My mother has slowly given them to neighbors, friends, and other people. With love and a laugh, I said to my mother,
“Those headbands sell for 100 dollars on e-bay!”
Oh well, life goes on, and memories fade, I will never return to the USA to show them to friends, and family and say,
“I once was there, I once travel to Thailand.”
I now live here, not there, and to steal the words of Paul Theroux the writer, who is maybe a traveler in remission,
Travel it going elsewhere, to be somewhere else than at home.
I no longer have a home, my home is elsewhere for others, it is here for me, wherever my backpack sits today, is my home. I have what can most accurately define as a “Mobile Household.”
And yes, people living in Motor homes, and living on Sailboats can be traveler, providing they have the addiction, the wanderlust, and unplug from shore power, or move their entire concrete pad, never staying for longer than 3 months.
In many ways, I think a traveler should, could, or would add new countries to his or her profile, maybe 1-10 countries per year. Any anyone that one-country-it does not really stand up to the test of being a traveler.
Travel means exactly that, we travel, we move, and because we travel there is a limit to what is possible to carry.
I truly cannot own, keep, and maintain more than a small room of things, it is expensive.
Yes, the critical thinker will know analyze what I have written above, and say,
“I know a man with three houses that travels all the time.”
There are super-rich, people that have accumulated great wealth and capable of paying extremely large sums of money to keep a home, or storage in many locations on the planet.
And again it comes down to one question:
Doe this person need to move, want to move, want to change culture, and country every three months?
Travel is an addiction, not a want, it is a need, a slow ache, after about one month my brain starts to burn, after two months in one location, I start to become grumpy, at around 60 days in one location, I start to feel mission creep, the thing, the stuff, the room is growing, I know I am inside a trap, these things will soon own me, and I will not have the energy to fight back, I will fall in love with things, and spend the rest of my life protecting and watching stuff.
I then escape, jettison the small ball and chains that have accumulated and go in search of future memories. Each future memory gives me an endorphin rush, a tingle.
To experience this, enter a new city, search for a room, then take a walk about, I am addicted to that feeling, the new day, the new city, the new faces, the wonder of it all, a life of endless curiosity.
The feelings inside my inner mind can be pointed at, but almost impossible to share with you. There are a few who travel, who understand the intoxicant that is in me, that has take over my life, that now is me, I cannot return home, I am home, it is elsewhere.
There is a song, and old song by written by Paul Simon, of the singing duel called “Simon and Garfunkel.”
I see many of living lives of “The Boxer,” if your mind is always wondering, if you cannot stop day dreaming, if there is a rage in you soul, if the hole in your chest is never full, just maybe your home is living elsewhere.
I am not “The Boxer,” I am the Traveler,
Andy Graham today, Sunday, 6:24 AM, March 3, 2013 elsewhere in Natitingou, Benin, West Africa
Today, I will wink at a pretty girl, and think of you, I here, and you are there. And, when I hear the words,
“I would never go there.
I know you are talking about my home, the great elsewhere, where you will never go.
Mom Graham says it is 16 years of travel, yet who knows? I became a traveler, one does not plan to become a traveler, it is what you finally admit to yourself, when you say,
“I am leaving,”
and you know you will leave.
Andy Lee Graham 15 years of perpetual travel.
Simon and Garfunkel The Boxer Lyrics
I am just a poor boy
Though my story's seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocket full of mumbles such are promises
All lies and jests
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest
When I left my home and my family
I was no more than a boy
In the company of strangers
In the quiet of the railway station running scared
Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters
Where the ragged people go
Looking for the places only they would know
Lie la lie ...
Asking only workman's wages
I come looking for a job
But I get no offers,
Just a come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue
I do declare, there were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there
Lie la lie ...
Then I'm laying out my winter clothes
And wishing I was gone
Where the New York City winters aren't bleeding me
Bleeding me, going home
In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev'ry glove that layed him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
"I am leaving, I am leaving"
But the fighter still remains
Lie la lie ...
Life is good.
Thanks to the good Gods,
"If you miss the train I'm on you will know that I am gone
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles."