Route Latin America

a vagabonding journey starting with a one-way-ticket

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Posted by Engin Kaban on June 9, 2010


Some people still think what I am doing is a holiday. No, it is not. It is a journey. A period with its up and downs; that I have to think, work on and plan something for every day. An adventure which makes me face myself, puts me into danger, and in which I struggle most of the time on my own.

From my point of view, “holiday” is when you go to the hotel booked in advance, and spend the whole day lying on the beach, with a cocktail in your hand, not planning or thinking of anything. You relax, get some suntan, and you go back home when the pre-defined time is over. There are no unknowns in a holiday. Everything is planned for your comfort, and you just follow.

What I am in however is a journey with its difficulties, dangers and loneliness. A journey not to Latin America but to myself. For that reason it is not clear either when or where it will end. An escapade of which details are not known beforehand and things just develop by my instant decisions or by the things out of my control. The ever-changing setting is in fact just a small dimension in this journey. It is even unimportant in comparison to my constantly-improving thoughts. Nobody plans anything for you in a journey. Its variables are so many that several times it becomes impossible to work it out. Your common sense is your only helper while fighting with these. There is no second person because around you is just full of strangers.

In a broader sense, it is true that with my living standards, I am better off than many people in the world; however, I do not think I am luckier than anyone reading these lines. I would sincerely like to ask those who see everything rose-pink from outside and think that I am “lucky”, why they do not do what I am doing. I hope not to be misunderstood. And I repeat; this is not “luck”, just a matter of “choice”. Just a decision of how I like to live my life.

I did not depart escaping from something. I departed leaving some things behind. I had a quite nice life before starting the trip. All was perfect in my little world. Then why did not I continue like that? Why didn’t I leave all to the flow and just live all my life in peace? Because there was a drive so strong that I could not resist. Telling me that I have only one life. Reminding me life is too short and special to live constantly repeating itself. Throwing me out of the “easy” system and dragging me into the “difficult” unknown. This is the power that made me hit the road.

I previously told that this journey has its own difficulties. I have to think where I will stay for the night because I do not have a place to call home. No matter how warm I am welcomed in the houses that I am hosted or the hostels that I stay, it is in the end never a place of my own. I am a stranger there. Just temporary.

People around me are those I have met a few hours or maximum a few days ago. None of them are my best friends or a part of my family. Today they are here, tomorrow not. And me, continuing my journey; I have to.

Although I leave my journey to be as flexible and open-end as possible, I have to roughly think about where I will be the following day or week and do some research about it. This is not really easy with the rapidity of the trip. It requires an intense use of the internet, contact making and planning.

The beginning of the journey means also separation. You make the choices and hit the road. Might look very easy from outside, but it is not. A part of your mind always keeps on being busy with something. Especially if you leave behind the beloved ones.

On the other hand, I am also busy with many projects. On one hand, I am trying to do something concrete during this trip. On the other hand, there are those that I am pre-planning which I will accomplish about this journey when I go back. There is also the Turkish backpackers group “Sırtçantalılar” which we really work hard for. Therefore, even though I seem to be traveling all the time, in fact I often spend many hours in front of the computer trying to produce. Simply, every article that I write for my website and you read in 5 minutes takes several hours. I am the only one who knows how much care I put into them, and how many times I re-read to make little changes to make them smoother.

Months pass by and things start to get more difficult. Maybe it is because of the fact of not having the same excitement and energy as in the beginning, maybe to have achieved satisfaction of meeting new people, or maybe those that are longed for become stronger. Maybe this is a decision point. The point where you have to answer “enough or continue?”. I came to this very point after 5,5 months, and said “continue”.

I do not know for how long more I will keep saying “continue”, but for now “continue”.

I am more than sure that many people will just laugh away to all these, and will not understand what I actually wanted to say. I know because now I realize that before starting this trip, I was not able to understand either. Why the travelers that I met or hosted who have been on the road for many months or years just sit at home for several days, why they choose to relax instead of going around every day, why they are sometimes confused, why they start to cry out of nothing, why they would prefer not going out on a Saturday night in a city where they are just new to, why what they leave behind constantly make them think, where they go, what they do, what they expect from life, their dreams, why they are on the road… I used to think I understand them, but not. Now I do understand.

I particularly dedicate this special article to the minority who can understand me. They know themselves…

Engin Kaban

June 5th 2010 – Rosario

6 Responses to “Continue”

  1. Pål Johansen said

    This is so well said!

    I am traveling this autumn myself, and have traveled a lot before, and what you are writing seems so familiar to what I have been thinking/doing several times. I never considered my journeys to be a vacation/holiday. Life is a journey in itself, and traveling for me is just a part of that journey.

    Good luck!

  2. Claudia said

    Thanks Engin, because I really feel that you are talking to me and it is not because I have done a journey like yours, but I also have been in different places in no planning situations.

    Thanks for the care of writing, for the thoughts you share and for the encourage you give.

    Best wishes and go on!!

  3. Augustas said

    Engin, your words are 100% truth! 😉 Thank you for sharing all your feelings and thoughts with everyone.
    Sometimes for us travelers such things are really difficult to put into words and express.

  4. Giovanna De La Mora said

    How strong and true are your words…
    thank you very much for them. But even more, thank you for sharing us par of you.
    I know perfectly that this words come form a strong and continuous reflection, and I admire you opened all these thoughts with all of us.

    I really think the journey to ourselves is like you describe it, with its up and downs, big walls and easy roads… Congratulations to continue. I’m sure you will know just in time when has been enogh for you and this part of your life.

    Good luck!!

  5. @Pål,
    Thanks for the feedback. good to know some people sharing the same things.

    You’re welcome. any encouragement you need, I am here 🙂

    You understand me, I understand you. That’s it!!! Happy travels to yourself too…

    You’re more than welcome. And thanks for being in some part of this journey too. It’s good to share some feelings with people who really are capable of understand…

  6. Vine aqui por azar y me ha impresionado la tematica de tu sitio, el contenido me ha sido de mucha utilidad y he encontrado cosas de interes, es
    muy dificil encontrar paginas tan utiles en estos
    tiempos, gracias mil y bendiciones.

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