We start with a first kilometer and then we never stop, we learn to like changes, a life without obligation, a life to live it. The human being has evolved by becoming sedentary, but the present society encloses it in this way of life. In order to modernize them, nomadic cultures have been forced to settle down, this way of life is not desired, look how Roms’ people are treated in Europe. Possessions, accumulation, conformity and habitation that the how social status is forged.
Paradoxically how our society has treated other nomadic cultures, more and more people choose this way of life. Some by rejection of this society, others to discover the world, a lot for both. On social networks it is becoming trendy, the hastag Vanlife is a safe bet. But is it a better choice than a life settle in a fixed place?
The benefits of traveling
Journeys form the character they say, no doubt it allows to learn. Becoming a nomad modulates a different vision of time; daily activities take more time, there is no imperative of everyday life and its obligations. We learn to do things with simplicity, to live with less and everywhere. Where we stop for the night, it’s our home. Natural resources become treasures that we seek and relearn to use; a river becomes a refrigerator.
Traveling allows new encounters, discover new ways of doing things, open your mind. The people defending their territory are often those who know only this one. Travelling is to learn how to manage in another climate, in another type of vegetation, to discover new foods. In order to do a few more kilometers you learn new jobs. Traveling on the long term allows you to take the time, to immerse yourself as a local in the places where you go. To be tourist and local at the same time in the places where we pass, those where we take a little more time.
A dependency on the system
The traveler is not the nomadism of nomadic cultures. We want quit the system, but whether backpack or truck, our dependence on the system is always present. We are at least all dependent on the food system that produces capitalism. We can sometimes get away with volunteering or going to the little organic shop in the area, but when we arrive in a new city, it’s hard to know where to go if not the big supermarket. When traveling, it is hard to produce what is vital for life: food. Traveling by truck has the advantage of being able to carry food and kitchen, but in hitch hiking, walking or on bike you are limited by weight.
This is because some are sedentary that we can afford to travel. Constantly paradoxical, the services we use are only possible because not everyone travels. It is not possible that everyone is on the road, if we took Kantian morality this way of life would not work.
Walkers and cyclists will be outside this criticism, but they are not a lot among those traveling over several years. Trendy is being in a Van and the plane is always present. It would be interesting to compare the energy costs of a pedestrian leaving in a city compared to what we spend in a Van. We consume gas, but we produce our electricity and we have our dry toilets. On the other hand, those who fly are already over limit simply by using it. Talking about transition, reducing the use of fossil fuels and at the same time being on the road in a truck is not always easy for consistency of mind.
Being on the road is an enriching experience individually, we come out growing and I think we come out better human. But wanting to leave the present system by travel could it be see as a form of escape from the construction of another world? Collective building at a local scale of a community can not be done with people on the road. And it is difficult to get involved locally from far away. We can get involved in places where we go for a time, but in a collective building requires long-term involvement to see and make it emerge.
To travel differently
Another world is desirable and I think it needs more travelers. Not one of those who will go for 2 weeks of tourism on the other side of the world, it is an environmental heresy and keeps the system in place. If we could all get out of our comfort zone, for a time at least, maybe we could collectively build something that is more open.
Maybe instead of promoting the trip, maybe we should rethink our way of looking at the sedentary lifestyle. Above all, to realize that behind this lies our way of seeing work and how capitalism forces us to do it. Work less for money, but more for you and the community. If we had more free time would we go 2 weeks away from our routine?
Maybe we could create ephemeral, temporal premises. And if we were a cooperative with land where we could settle temporarily and have social values. On each one could find a garden to cultivate to pass to the next, people would come to teach their knowledge and to receive it.
Also published on Medium.