SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 15, August 2016 - Page 121

7.

There Are No Judgements. Among travelers, nothing really matters except your attitude. Age, appearance, fashion, religion and country of origin disappear among this group of people. I often find myself hanging out with people young enough to be my children. One of my most memorable moments was a day spent with an international group of people whose ages ranged from 21 to 60­something. We all got along famously! Nobody cares about the superficial things like clothes and makeup. We all live out of backpacks, shower infrequently, and wear the same clothes over and over again between washings. I rarely wear any makeup, quit brushing my hair, never flirt and yet easily make female friends and regularly find myself being approached by attractive, younger men even though there are other, more stylish and age­appropriate, females around.

8.

My Backpack is Too Big​. Although most everything I own fits into a 75L backpack and a daypack, it's still too much. At my first airport check­in the big bag was 17 kilograms and I still had a day pack that weighed at least six. Most everything I owned has been lost or stolen and subsequently replaced. I'm down to 15 kilo for the backpack and four kilo for the day pack. Still, the more I travel the more I would like to scale down to a 45L pack weighing no more than 10 kilo. What I have now is much too much weight for me to carry for long distances and a real burden. It hinders me, weighs me down and keeps me from having the freedom I set off to have. Yet I'm not willing to get rid of anything. I consciously continue to limit myself, even in my freedom.

9.

Life is About the Details. ​As you go through everyday life, how observant are you of your surroundings? Do you see the plum colored raincoat on the man in the purple cafe or the only red door on the monochromatic homes in the distance? Do you realize the tomato, mozzarella and basil layers of the caprese you ordered are actually served in the order of colors on the Italian flag? If you are lucky, you will pick up on the two old men whose steps are in sync as they cross the park to sit together on a bench. You'll know instinctively that this isn't by chance but the result of a lifetime of walking around together. And it will make you smile. Slow down, put your phone away and be aware. The details are the bright spots in an otherwise ordinary and mundane moment.

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