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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Travel Love : A Map for Saturday


A Map for Saturday is a documentary created by Brook Silva-Braga. It gives us an idea of the modern backpacking world. Both the hassles and wonders of backpacking and especially of travelling alone.

It started with the day when he told his co-workers of his plan to quit his job and travel the world for one whole year. There were various reactions to his plan i.e., he’s crazy for leaving the job he worked hard for, some envied him for being so brave. His parents and family, on the other hand, were very supportive. They were worried about his safety but they somehow understood what he wanted to do being travelers themselves back in their youth.

He travels through Australia, Asia, Europe and South America. In between the still shots of beautiful landscapes and people, he interviews his fellow backpackers about life on the road. The reason why people travel, the instant friends and constantly saying goodbye to people, the burnout point when travelling becomes tiring and ordinary, the anxiety and stress of going home and facing ‘reality’, and the addicting quality of travelling.

I can only relate to the reasons why they love travelling and why it is so addicting. I hope to experience the other highlights of the documentary when I do my own travelling by the end of the year.

Why they travel. They come from different countries and from different backgrounds, some travel alone and some in groups. But all of them do it for three simple reasons-

1) love of traveling
2) the belief that life is not entirely about career and money
3) to live life with no regrets

I started to make travelling my priority because of Reason no. 1 – I love to travel. I love discovering new things about the human race. I love looking at our various differences and at the same time of the few important things that we all have in common – love (of family and friends) and faith (not religion, but faith regardless of how we practice it). I love the overwhelming feeling of being at awe of majestic landscapes and man-made historic structures.

It took me a while to realize Reason no. 2. I had to first be obsessed about finding the right career, achieving goals at a certain age, comparing my own success with my peers', etc. It was that one afternoon of Feb 23, 2008 when I came to realize that I should give more importance to the things that matter most in life. I had to fail twice to realize that it’s okay to not know everything yet. That it’s okay to not have a distinct life plan. That life offers wonderful surprises if we just allow it to. And for me, it was traveling. Travel was one of the most wonderful surprises in my life.

Consistent travelling, getting inspired by departures. (an amazing travel show) and A Map for Saturday, bungy jumping from the Macau Tower, and lesson no. 2 – all of these led me to Reason no. 3. We will never really know what’s going to happen to us tomorrow or 5 years from now. So we must make the most out of life and strive to live life with no regrets. I’ve shared this plan of mine to a few people. And most of them have that same questioning look on their faces. Why do I have to quit my job? What will I do after? They’re actually scared for me. They can’t imagine themselves sharing a room with a stranger or travelling alone in a foreign land.

Of course it scares me. I can’t even tell my parents about it yet. But all those fears are not going to get me anywhere. I know it’s cliché. But I don’t want to wake up one morning in my 50’s and realize that I should have done the one thing that I’ve always wanted to do. I know I can do it now, so I’ll do it.

Anyone Can. The one backpacker that really affected me and inspired me big time is the 70 year old man who along with his plastic bags of pills is still travelling around Europe. He is living his life the best way he knows how. No illness or weak bones can stop him. ‘Anyone can,’ he said. I guess if you just really want it so bad, you’ll do everything you can to make it happen. And it will eventually happen.