Ok, I’m not old but I’m older!
There are thirteen years between my first real taste of the world and my latest one. My first big step into the world was made in 2001 when I was 20 and I was interrailing alone for a month in Europe. And my latest adventure in the world was for fifteen month in 2013-2015 and I was then 33-35.
When I was 20 years old I thought I knew so much about life but now at 36 I’m just laughing thinking about myself as 20! And when I am 50 I problably will be laughing harder when thinking of me back as 36!
So traveling as 20 and traveling as 36 is totally different for me beacause I have mentally and physically changed during those sixteen years. If I’m now going to redo the same trip as in 2001 the trip would totally be different!
So at what stage in life is the best time to travel for me? Everyone is ofcourse different so this post is based on me and how I was before VS how I am now.
Happy to have a nice room once awhile. Here in Jodhpur, India 2014
Money is important if you want to travel and when I was younger I didn’t have a lot. I had a job in a kindergarten but saving up money was harder at 20 because at that time it was hard saying no to my friends when they wanted to do something that included spending money. As older I am just saying firmly but kindly NO!
So I am having more money to travel as older and therefore I can do more cool stuff and permit myself to eat better than instant noodles in hostel kitchen. And sleep in a better room than in a dormtoir.
Young: 0 VS Old: 1
2. Physically lazy
34 years old and love physically challenges. Photo: Mount Rinjani, Indonesia 2014
Honestly, at 20 I was adventurous by heart but I was physically lazy! I was choosing to do activities that was not physically hard but often I was wishing to do them. Now when I am older I am in better shape and not afraid of physical challenges. For exemple I went trekking for ten days in himalaya. At 20 years old I would never do that but instead rather lay down by the beach reading a book. That is fine to, but for three weeks? I missed a lot of great adventures traveling at 20!
So for me traveling as older I am having greater experiences than I had before!
Young: 0 VS Old: 2
3. Mentally ready
Solo traveler at 20. Photo: Venize, Italy 2001
When you travel in the world for the first time it is important to be mentally ready because it can be a big and lonely out there! Oh my! I was shy and insecure about myself and very socially ackward…but inspite of that I had the courage to take the huge step to traveling on my own! But I missed out a lot of fun as I was shy and rather spend the evening reading a book rather than to hang out with other backpackers from the same hostel. If I was as I am now I wouldn’t miss a single opportunity to hangout with people. For me people are those who makes my day memorable and not only the place.
Very shy but I made some friends! I remeber them more than I remember the site. Photo: Athen, Greece 2001
Young: 0 VS Old: 3
4. The cultural interest
Visiting a stupa. Photo: Buddhanath temple, Nepal 2013
As younger I didn’t go to Rome to see the Colosseum. I was traveling for the sake of traveling! I just went somewhere just to get away. I didn’t care if there was a Van Gogh museum just around the corner. I was just happy to be walking on the street of Amsterdam. Now at 36 I still love just to stroll around without any goal but as older I also need, not necessary always a museum but it could be for an exemple a garden or a building, to make my day complete.
But at the end as I was younger I was happy even though I didn’t go to Van Gogh museum or entered the Colosseum because I was happy just being there. So why not?
Young: 0 VS Old: 3
At 20 I was traveling without any guide books. Zero plans! I don’t remember how I managed to get around places to places. I often got suprised as I never knew what to expect of the place. I remember when I traveled for the first time with David. We went to Sardegna and he wanted to rent guide books and I told him “No, let’s rent a car and be spontaneous!”. We had a nice week but I agreed with David when we were in the middle of nowhere that if we had a guide book we could know if there are anything intressting nearby. Or a good recommended restaurant.
I used maps! Photo: Venize, Italy 2009
Now at 36 I just love to make some research before traveling and decide my destination according to my research. Perhaps because it is easier now than before to find information thanks to IT and Iphones instead of always go to the library and rent guide books.
However, I prefer to make research beforehand to make sure I don’t miss anything awesome!
Young: 0 VS Old: 4
6. Taking a photo
Photography goes hand in hand with travel. I loved to take photos and I still love it! The difference is that I was taking the photo for me. One click and I was happy. Now I am clicking thousands and just to impress others. It is very sad and very time consuming! So as young I enjoyed the moment more as I spend less time worrying about taking the perfect picture.
Photo: Angor Wat, Cambodia 2011
Young: 1 VS Old: 4
As you can see at the final score traveling as an older me is better than younger me. I have more money, more courage, I am fitter and I plan better my trips.
How about you guys? Did you had more fun traveling when you were younger?