I have a newfound respect for backpackers. I'm not talking about the weekend backpackers who have a home base from where they can launch two or three day trips taking only their backpacks as luggage. I've been that person before, and I loved it. No, I'm talking about the people who are permanently living out of their backpacks. They might be on a RTW or exploring a continent, or simply hanging out in a single country, but whatever their travel goal may be, they are all extremely mobile and living with the same, few possessions over a long period of time. They are my heroes.
Why the sudden appreciation for a nomadic lifestyle? Because for the past year, and especially the past few months, I feel as though I've been living a scaled-down version of it. Moving from DC to Minneapolis to my first Paris apartment to my second Paris apartment to my first, second and third locations in Minneapolis to Paris again and then back to Minneapolis has taken its toll. I'm exhausted, and desperate for a true home base from which to launch smaller trips. But even during this past year of frequent moves and living out of a few suitcases, I never experienced the true life of a backpacker. I always had more than a bag's worth of clothes, shoes and other personal items, and I even had a few longish-term places to call my own. That's why I'm so thoroughly impressed with my fellow travelers who live with nothing but their backpacks and a changing array of "homes" for long periods of time. Backpacking, at least from my perspective, is not an easy life.
Don't get me wrong, I love traveling, and I've got months of travel blogging to prove it! And I can definitely see the attractiveness of indefinite backpacking. It's a lifestyle that carries with it nearly unlimited freedom and adventure, and who wouldn't want that? But I'm ready to have a more stable travel life for a while. On Wednesday morning I will finally leave Minneapolis and return to my apartment - my home - in Washington, DC. It's going to feel good to put down roots for more than a couple of weeks or even months; just thinking about my walk-in closet makes me giddy. And while I know I will keep on traveling as much as possible, a professional backpacker I am not. To those of you out there who are, rock on! You are the true road warriors.