Ethiopia has been added to the "Nationalities I've Met" page, bringing the total to 55!
I recently shipped home two of my artistic outlets: my guitar and my camera. I’d had enough of trudging around with the extra weight, and decided it would be best to ditch the items. Sometimes, to travel you have to temporarily give up things that you love.
I’d had the guitar since Bangkok, where I purchased it to replace my old, broken one. Many a hot afternoon was spent practicing, writing, and messing around. I started an (unsuccessful) Kickstarter campaign to record an album with my guitar, and even wrote two original songs with it. However, as of late I’ve been too busy to play every day, and the instrument doubled the weight I had to carry around. In three years of musical dedication, this will be the longest break I have ever taken from playing guitar.
I’ve shot over a hundred rolls of film on my trusty Pentax K-1000 camera, and had hoped to continue my photography overseas. In Thailand, it was no problem. I shot a couple of rolls and had them (shoddily) scanned for me. Unfortunately, film did not prove easy to find in other countries, and processing labs were rather rare. Due to the inconvenience and high costs of shooting film while on a budget adventure, the Pentax had been lying at the bottom of my bag for a few months. To lessen the weight of my backpack, I shipped it home as well. I’ve been shooting all of my pictures with my IPod, but will go back to film when the trip is over.
With a heavy heart, I brought my items to the post office, where I was directed to the packing room. A man sewed together a wonderful fabric sleeve for my guitar case. As I watched him work, he pointed to some signs on the wall, which showed he had been recognized as a professional in his craft. In a morose sort of way, I found it interesting that he was getting ready to send away my crafting tools. I brought the finished package back to the shipping room, paid $65, and was on my way.
On the walk back to my hotel, something dawned on me. I was a lucky guy. The majority of people in India could not afford a $200 guitar or $50 camera, or have the luxury of traveling the world. So what was I doing, complaining about a mere few months’ inconvenience? The pit that had been forming in my stomach suddenly disappeared. It was ok that I had to temporarily give up my artistic pursuits, because now traveling would be easier and more enjoyable. Sometimes, giving up the things you love actually makes you love something else even more. With just a small backpack to carry, I can now focus more on the task I have at hand: seeing the world.
My name is Yonah Paley. I quit my job in the United States to travel. I also write music and do photography. As I backpack across the world, I share stories, philosophy, and travel tips.