There's a special place in my heart for reckless wayfarers. For hitchhikers and backpack warriors with stories that light your insides with wanderlust. Tom is one such heroic wanderer whose TED talk about his escapades is a stirring inspiration.
"I lost my job. I lost the money. I lost the meaning."
The year was 2008 and he had just lost everything during the financial crash. With nothing to lose, he set off for the adventure of a lifetime. Armed with his backpack and a million dollar attitude, he stuck out his thumb to strangers who'd take him along in exchange for stories and gratitude.
How did he do it? He roughed it, relying on the kindness of strangers to make it through. Couchsurfing everywhere, sleeping in the park, camping in the forest and hitching a ride to his next destination.
He recounts his experiences in a series of heartwarming and hilarious video guides in his TED talk. He's got a tip for every situation on the road - including what to do when the driver of your ride falls asleep.
"Don't be Afraid"
Travel takes you on roads that lead to the deepest parts of your soul and lets you connect with who you are. Tom traveled with nothing, forsaking the commodified purchases and touristy hedonism in exchange for real experiences and sincere encounters. He shares his profound insights from the road in his talk.
I learnt not to trust the media and all their horror stories.
I learnt that we should preserve our earth. It's the only one we have and the only one with chocolate.
I learnt to tear down my prejudices.
I learnt that all people of the world are actually, basically the same. (Well, may be except Indians)
"Turkish people warned me about the Kurdish people, Kurdish about Iranis, Iranis about Pakistanis, Pakistanis about Indians. Indians didn't warn me about anyone. It's like the last frontier or something. Beats me."
It allows you to have a different perspective.
Tom, who's from Croatia, volunteered with locals and did odd jobs to support himself during his travels. He worked with farmers, dumpster divers, sailors and fisherman, many of whom lead a very different life.
And how about the flipside? Tom had some honest, gut-wrenching insights about life on the road.
Your friendships will intense, but they'll be short-lasting.
Your relationships will last as long as your visa.
Image Credits: alejandro bustamante campillo
You will miss having a home.
Image Credits: Roy Cheung
When you travel with nothing, you are signing up for some of the most wretched but entirely human experiences. Travel hurts. You will experience loneliness and hunger, sometimes both together. There's a chance you will fall sick. You will feel homesick, but all the while meeting some amazing people and have unparalleled experiences that even the most profound narratives will fail to articulate. If life is a book of stories, then travel is not merely a chapter.
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