So week 2 of BnA’s 2012 Indie Travel Challenge:
Well, my inner English pedant would stipulate that I would agree I am indeed an indie traveller (although it’s not a phrase I use myself in everday language, I can’t think of a better way to put it) but what does that mean? It is more than just someone who is travelling independently -i.e. without a tour company or travel agent arranging things for them. I think it’s more a mindset, an approach to travel and to the world at large. It’s being completely open to new experiences and to taking life as it comes, an unquenchable deep need to see, taste, touch, hear, learn, and just to be out there exploring. It’s an attitude, and if you take it far enough (as some would argue I may have by now), it’s a way of life. When you meet people on the road, you can pretty much identify each other immediately – often you’re both alone, you find each other at a hostel, a free walking tour, a couchsurfing social or just the only other foreigner on the train – and with brief introductions over with you and your new friend head off for dinner, sightseeing or whatever – you’re both indie travellers and you already know that you have at least some core values in common.
I guess I am somewhat on one end of the scale – I am writing this in Melaka, Malaysia, with a set of very vague ‘plans’ that involve wandering around Asia for a while and then going to work in Australia. The choices I’ve made with regards to my work etc have led me to be able to have the time and funds to truly travel freely without any fixed idea of where I need to be where and when. I don’t even know how long I’ll stay where I am now – I initially said 2 nights but I already know that’s a lie! But, if indie travel is a mindset, then you don’t have to be out on the road right now to qualify. I have met some wonderful people who are indie travellers at heart but circumstances dictate that at this time in their lives they are not able to actually travel – but they tend to experience their hometowns in the same way as we embrace our trips – travelling at home, if you will.
When I meet newbie travellers in a hostel, on their first trip, I’m prone to saying ”welcome to travelling! you’ll love it….but watch out, it’s addictive!”. I think indie travellers are all those, who, woke up one day, and realised that they will never be ‘done’ travelling. There will always be another country they want to visit, another trip they want to plan, another sight to see or another adventure to be had. They’re never going to sit at home thinking, there, I’ve seen the world now! So to all those who will never be ‘done’….happy travelling, kindred spirits!