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Why this RTW trip 為何要環球旅行一年

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Please scroll down to see a complete English version of this article, which is a comprehensive account itself while not necessarily a precise translated version of the Chinese.
How to say “I feel trapped” in a cutesy way:

為什麼要去旅行這麼久?原因很簡單,因為要減肥。對不起,坐在台灣好吃的東西隨便伸個懶腰就會撞倒一大落,要把持不亂吃還真難。

好 啦,當然這不是真的原因,雖然之前每次旅行,體重都會輕易掉個四到八公斤(呃,當然有一大部分是肌肉的重量啦),回來褲子尺碼馬上要減一到二個尺寸。(不 過這也難說,說不定今年夠老了,新陳代謝不再那麼好操弄了咧。何況已經有人半警告和我說,「說不定你這次出門、路上很多人把你照顧得很好、天天餵得飽飽的 唷~」嗯,那也是,哈哈哈哈。)

為什麼要做這次旅行?更正:為什麼要辭掉尚稱穩定的工作、在沒有任何人當(備用)經濟奧援、把好不容易找到的租屋(大到可以放自己所有音樂收藏、價格合理、可以炊煮、房東還不錯)退掉、必須找地方安置家當、放棄習慣的健身習慣、並將所有的積蓄孤注一擲投注在一次長達將近一年的旅行?(可能是十個月,可能是300天,可能是345天。當然,錢耗盡了就得回台。)

上述問題可以有很多變換版本。例如,去玩三週不夠嗎?玩二、三個月不行嗎?回來要重新找住處不是很麻煩?辛辛苦苦賺的錢一次燒掉不可惜嗎?這個年紀和資歷,回來找工作不好找吧?

我的答案有多種一大套,但如果只說一句,最終的主題句應該是:我受夠了

我受夠了。近二年來我一直覺得生活中所有(所有) 的一切卡在一種不上不下、不前不後,往不了東也找不到西的境地。我試著找尋方向、嘗試不同解決方法、甚至換付羅盤重畫地圖,但最終只感到大大(而寂靜)的 失敗。換個視角我大可說,有這麼糟嗎?四肢健全,笑容可以看,頭上有個尚稱牢靠的屋頂,有朋友關心,再怎麼不滿,至少比很多人幸福。對,我承認,可是同一 時間我也知道,許多事情並不對。我用笑臉面對生活中所有的人,可是笑臉背後的我只是半透明的模糊問號。我不該是這樣的人。

我有音樂,但有些重量是即使承載我多年的音樂強勁翅膀也可能無法荷載的。

問號掛在頭頂上好久,間或夾雜著灰稜不可知的微雨。

大 概二年前有一次(又一次)感冒型腸胃炎(或什麼的)時Jude來看我,在昏沈身罩大刷毛衣像隻毛未刷理大熊外出午餐時我提到,那不如拋下一切去旅行一年 吧,至少這件事我做得還不錯。但這是不可能的:年紀不對,家當太多,還有許多的不不不。Jude說想去就去吧,隨意到近乎(近乎)漫不關心地說。

後來有好一段時間是無論如何不可能認真看待這想法的,因為頸椎問題一直無法解決、喉腫更是每三天就火燒旗海暴跳似呼嘯回訪。沒錯,看起來都不是大事,但拿來打擊信心恰是好用。

去 年夏天時我再次想到,也許旅行是條出路。畢竟我懂得旅行,旅行有時讓我快樂,我可以看到許多一直想探訪但終未得見的國度,可以像一尾幾乎視游泳為前世的魚 一般從滑膩的人工包膜中溜出、在重回水中那瞬間驚訝地大呼一口氣。旅行時我又是那個英文爽利、中文溫婉、德文徒具表象但發音尚可唬人、其他語言不懂倒很會 猜解、一路口哨歌唱的小子,那個脫掉眼鏡時有放鬆彷若信任一切的笑容、黑髮其實透紅的男孩。

離開如果是逃避,就解決不了任何問題。我承認, 我對於生命的疑問應該是大到我自己無法理解;在這一年(好吧,300天)中我會試著從不同面相思索,可是離開不可以是逃避,因為逃避的結果一定是躲不掉也 解決不了。這次旅行很可能什麼都想不出來;倘若如此,那我該做的是好好享受-天啊,不要再緊張兮兮(還要同時維持優雅)地確認所有無聊、自己強加的細節到 底有沒有完善達成了!就放寬心去享受美麗的人事物吧!

我記得升大三那年暑假逆時鐘環法(或其實是研究所時遊義大利時?),當有天收理行囊準 備上火車時我想、旅行是種奇妙的生活模式;其實,當物質需求減低到一個自在的平衡時,爽俐收展行李、查找交通住宿、其間睜大眼睛緊盯異國竊語般眨眼爍著微 光的許多事物,這很可以是種生活的方式。當我開始工作後第二年好不容易湊到十天(扣掉飛機只有八天)和久未謀面的友人同遊捷克,當從Kutná Hora坐火車回Prague時,對坐的他已經受不了自助旅行的緊張,可是雙腿舒展的我開心地看著皮靴半舊棕亮那般幾乎讓人安心的光澤映照窗外疾馳而過的 景色、以及火車座位老氣的花紋(你也知道,很多東西採用單色/純色的話質感大可提升,不過也許為了平撫一般人對於沒有花紋的害怕、或者純粹防髒…), 我說,(看看火車這般飛馳…)「我想我可以一直這樣坐著,再坐一週,再坐一個月,不斷前行,看看前面有什麼等著我…」

除了旅遊的「正當性」外,重要的問題應該還有:
(1) 玩這麼久不會無聊嗎?(我的版本應該是「旅行超過一個半月,心理是否支撐得了?」)
-- 我其實是擔心心理的抗壓能力的。坦白說,我覺得就我而言,這不是件容易的事,我也做過不少推演,包括如何玩到多久(大概每一個月至一個半月)、玩到 哪兒時要休息一下(原本是Poznań,但Poznań被砍到不到二個全天,所以可能是Warsaw)以及剪髮(希望是Poznań)。一方面為了確保心 理穩定,我這次找了很多沙發客(Couchsurfing)-除了住宿外費用外,更重要的是我想真正透過更多當地人的眼睛去看不同的文化與生活。截至目前 為止,開頭波羅的海三小國以及波蘭行程中有相當比例有找到CS或其他當地人的安排,所以旅遊心理的「高原期」應該不會像以前那麼早來到。事實上,之前有個 網友提到,我這次的旅行與其名為旅行、倒毋寧說是「世界一家的社群互動」(他的原文是community connecting,如果有人想到更好的翻譯歡迎告知我),而的確、「人」是這次旅行中最讓我期待的部分。(雖然我是有點小小擔心,目前波蘭這塊的網友 讓我感動得有點一塌糊塗,接下來的國家要勝過他們還真難啊…)

(2) 這個年紀/這個人生階段適合這樣做嗎?
-- 我也很希望我是26歲、24歲。的確,當我在告知公司時,公司中腦子靈活又開明的Very Important Person和我說:「如果你現在是26歲,我會和你說,『那就去吧!快去!』可是你現在這個歲數不上不下,對你的職涯規劃…」

他說得很對。實際上,這趟旅程可以說是一連串不太聰明/笨笨的/不是最好的選擇。那身為對C/P值應該有所執著的台灣人,幹嘛硬要做這樣的決定?

因為我只會活一次,可能還不會很長壽。 有一個我討厭的名人恰巧說了句很對的話:「早晨起床站在鏡子前問自己:『如果今天就是我生命的最後一天,我還會想去做我今天預計要做的事嗎?』如果這個答 案是「不」且維持了一陣子,那麼我就需要做些改變了。」我不一定不想做該做的事,可是我想在膝蓋還可以、視力還沒更差(、電臀的馬達還堪用)之時,做些我確定想做的事。我當然不夠年輕,可是我從大學後半段就是自給自足、念完研究所後進入職場憑己力攢錢也需要時間(除了不該靠家人外,台灣的薪資水準大家也知道嘛…),所以以我這樣的社經實力要得以實現這樣的目標時,這樣的歲數是合理也無可奈何的。如果明天我就會死去,今天我會想做什麼?應該不是繼續過一樣的生活。至少,我希望在有生之年恰好做了一件我會想做的事。如果現在不走,當有一天回首過往、想到「如果當年我下了決心,出去走一遭…」,會是多麼情何以堪?
(呃,我承認,也正是因為這樣,我當初大學和研究所修的課和兼職大爆滿,把自己搞得半死不活的。)

(3) 附帶回答一個問題:為什麼是選擇玩這些國家?
-- 也許我有點「蒐集」癖好,(「有點」嗎?來人啊,把這傢伙的Rossini全劇收藏起出…)我喜歡真正看看一個國家許多不同的地方、體驗它的不 同面相。可想而知,台北很可能不是台灣最吸引人的地方、去過Damascus(大馬士革,敘利亞首都)但落掉Aleppo也很顯然不智。我想去的地方很 多,這次我考量著時令儘可能選擇簽證可以同時配合的地區。如果真的想知道我為什麼要玩這些地方,建議先想想三件事:(i) 時序氣溫;(ii) 該國出產了哪些作曲家和古典歌手;(iii) 我已經去過哪些地方。

一如前文所 述,這個計劃瞞了多數人很久。在逐步曝光後,我聽到很多「哇!好酷!」的聲音;有好些朋友甚至興奮得似乎是自己要去旅行一般。更有甚的是許多目前尚未得 見、暫只靠網路聯繫的外國朋友很熱心地幫忙找著資訊-誠然,我也會為推銷台灣、幫忙很多真心想認識台灣的外國人查找台灣吃食、辦理手續、交通住宿等等,但 這些多國友人真的讓我很感動,之中還有好幾個特別說,「你要進行這般的環球旅程實在是太棒了,(幫你)問這些資訊讓我覺得好像也能夠參與這樣的旅程啊!」 台灣的朋友同樣也令人吃驚,包括但當然不限於甫知曉我出遊決定就探身過來和我說「嘿,你的家當應該可以放我家」的Vincent。我不由得(以一種完全正向的想法)覺得,這次旅行似乎也是為著這些熱情激勵的朋友進行的啊。

 

=========================================
What propels me to do this so-called Round-The-World trip? The answer is simple: I need to lose weight and finally slim down my waistline.  For anyone who has never  been to Taiwan or anyone who has never left Taiwan, it may be difficult to understand — the fact is, Taiwan is such a miraculous dream land of good and great foods of an amazing array of tastes and for all budgets.

(OK, granted, this ain’t the real reason — at least not the sole reason, even though I tend to lose 4 to 8 kilograms every time I did a three-week backpacking trip.  Well, some of those kilograms are constituted by muscles.)

Let me re-phrase the question: why do I want to quit a relatively stable job, terminate the lease of an apartment room that’s finally big enough and comes with a kitchen and nice landlady, find places to accommodate all personal belongings, and spend the entire savings (while having absolutely no-one else and nothing to fall back upon), only to travel for 10 months (or 300~345 days, if you will, or up to the point when there’s no more money to burn)?

Other variations of the question above have been asked: isn’t it enough to do a three-week trip every year? Isn’t it troublesome to find a place to live when you return to Taiwan? Are you sure you want to throw away all your money accumulated over the past several years? Is it wise to quit your job at your age?

I can word my answer differently and color it variously, but the bottom line is, I feel trapped, and I’ve had enough.

I feel trapped.  Surely I’ve tried to fight my ways out, but eventually I failed.  I understand that I’m lucky to have reasonable health and some caring friends, but I feel it isn’t enough.  Something isn’t right, and it is probably wrong that I don’t try to shake up or off something in response.  The bleak question mark hangs above me hauntingly and almost ominously dauntingly, and I don’t know how to cope with it.

The idea of abandoning everything (well, sort of) to do a round-the-world trip first took shape almost two years ago, but health issues intervened, and I never took the idea seriously.  The traveling idea finally gained some prominence last summer: maybe traveling or at least a big trip itself is a way out.  After all, I know how to travel, and traveling does make it happy (at times).  I’ll be able to visit a lot of lands I’ve always wanted to see.  The traveling Damian, while shorn off the (well, sort of) gym-bound shape, is probably one of the truest versions of Damian available — he’s again the young lad that has a beaming/ winning smile, articulate in English and superficially some other languages and fluent in coloratura whistling and chirping out all kinds of tunes with a gentle, suave baritone voice.  I’ll finally feel like me again.

I have obstacles in my life, and if I want to run away from them by means of traveling or indeed anything else, it will certainly not work.  I intend to think over my life over the course of 300-day (or 345-day)grand tour; there is certainly a big possibility that in the end I won’t come up with any good answers.  Should that be the case, so be it: Just make sure that I enjoy the trip and the rest of my life! That’s a lesson I ought to learn and definitely put into practice.

I do have concerns about whether I can sustain myself psychologically over such a long time span; after all, the longest trip I ever did was roughly 40 days back in college: I traveled counter-clockwise through a big part of France (unfortunately not Mont Saint-Michel), and when I was one or two cities away from Strasburg, I felt mentally tired enough to run back to Paris to stay with my aunt and uncle, and after a couple of days, I set forth for London, the last stop of my journey.  I have absolutely no idea what will happen for this trip, no matter how carefully I calculate to be relaxed and “nonchalant,” even though I do know I’ll try to “rest” a bit more in Warsaw and have my first haircut in Poznań.  On the bright side, I do try to meet people via Couchsurfing so that I have some “human contact”; even more importantly, I do hope to really learn more about different cultures through locals’ eyes.

Some people questioned whether it’s appropriate to have a traveling sabbatical year like this at this stage of my life.  Am I too “old” for this? maybe.  Understandably this isn’t a smartest choice, and I don’t expect to harvest riches from this trip in terms of a career.  So why do I still make such a choice? The reason is simple: I live only once, and I probably won’t live a long life (if I’m lucky) anyway.  Someone I far from admire happened to say something pretty accurate, “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” What do I want to do if I am to die tomorrow? definitely not what I have been doing.  Before I die, I want to something I really like, and I do not suppose I will want to look back one day and think, “If I had chosen differently and had undertaken that journey…”

Ever since I started preparing for this journey, I’ve heard from some overseas friends and, later, once the news was revealed to some Taiwanese friends, that “Wow! Cool! If only I could go on such a trip like you do!” Some overseas friends that I have not met and, in some cases, will probably never meet, simply overwhelm me with their keenness to help with gathering information and finding out answers or solutions to various issues.  Granted, I’ve been doing roughly the same way before I ever registered at CouchSurfing for nice foreign guests who do want to learn about Taiwan, but I’m still very much touched and impressed.  As a certain foreign friend who has corresponded with me for a while said, this is more of some “community connection project” than a mere trip.  In a major and unquestionably positive way, I shall march and soldier onward not just for me but for all these great warming friends!

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2 responses »

  1. 天啊,動機居然牽連到不相干的人身上…

    Reply

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