Torn Between Two Worlds 

I have been traveling for work or for pleasure most of my life and have definitely developed some preferences and tendencies along the way- some good and some bad.  When I began traveling for work a few years back I became much more specific than the average traveler.  I wanted this type of bed and that type of hotel, etc. etc.  It was all very high maintenance, I’ll admit it.  I was lucky to live the type of life where I had a great job and the ability to travel to new places and stay in nice hotels…and I took it all for granted.

Of course that all changed when I left my job and the trappings of my life behind to travel the world.  My life now couldn’t be more different than it was a year ago, which has it’s positives and negatives, but ultimately the changes I made have lead me to a better, more peaceful, place within myself.

Every once in a while during my travels, I’ve had outrageous “is this really happening” moments.  Like the time I toured Porto, Portugal on the back of a local man’s motorcycle and saw lighthouses and ate pastries all day, or the time I was sailed off to Capri, Italy for the weekend on the biggest sailboat I’d ever seen.  These, and many other times have had me thanking my lucky stars and wondering how on Earth I got to do such amazing things in such beautiful places.  Another one of these experiences happened last week after arriving in Athens, Greece.

I had the opportunity to stay on a yacht called “Tommy K” for two nights, being hosted by HarbourSpot– the AirBnb of the boat/yacht chartering world. How does a girl from little old Redding, California get so lucky?  Where I come from the only yacht you’ll ever see is on television or in your dreams, and here I was being hosted as an official travel blogger.

Part of me felt right at home on that yacht, and the other part of me felt like I was betraying my newfound minimalist lifestyle.  I let go of the materialistic world completely (or so I thought) and here I was enjoying every second in the lap of luxury.

My two nights aboard the yacht were an amazing experience and something I will always remember fondly.  They were also a reminder of my old world.  The experience reminded me of my taste for expensive and beautiful things.  Nothing like a yacht to wake up your urge toward the finer things in life, I suppose.

Can’t I just live on a yacht and sip champagne all day?  IMG_6083

I couldn’t believe how beautiful the boat was and immediately felt privileged to know it had been reserved just for me.  I brought my friend Rayvin and we quickly exchanged “Oh my god” glances at each other while taking the first tour around, taking as many pictures as possible.

Inside the boat there were three cabins and two full bathrooms (I had my own bathroom!), a beautiful kitchen and dining area.  As I walked myself around I wondered what to do with all the space.  What a nice break from cramped hostels and hotel rooms!  I hadn’t had my own room in what felt like forever, let alone an entire yacht.  I’ve gotten used to sharing space, bedrooms, bathrooms, the works- and this felt like heaven.  It was such a nice break from the “backpacker life” I’d grown accustomed to these past months.

My room looked like this

Sleeping on the water meant I didn’t need my usual “Sleep sounds” app playing into my headphones all night for the first time in forever.  What a nice respite for my sore ears and overworked earbuds.  Sleeping in hostels requires me to have my headphones in to block out the sounds from the (often) inconsiderate room mates, but not on a private yacht!  No room mates or shuffling noises all night long here.

Waking up to fresh coffee and breakfast meant I didn’t have to run out the door immediately and find the closest cafe before making human contact.  If you know me, you know I’m not a morning person.  Before 10 AM, I’ve been known to tell people “I’m not human until espresso.  Please. Don’t. Speak.”

When we had any questions about Athens or Greece as a whole, there was no need to “Google” because we had our on-board hostess Tammy right there with us.  It’s so much nicer to ask a real person, isn’t it?  Who gets a 24-hour stewardess?!  A person who charters a yacht, that’s who.

Every little detail taken care of.  I think I forgot what that felt like.

I had flashbacks of the swanky hotels I used to stay at during sales meetings and my suite that was home-away-from-home in Hawaii (I used to go there for work).  “I used to live like this” I thought the whole time- and “I miss it.”  

hawaii balcony.jpg

Hawaii 2014- The view from my “home away from home”

I suppose I threw all that away- for a backpack and my passport.    

These two nights on the yacht made me yearn for the high-profile lifestyle that was mine not so long ago.  It made me question where I am and where I am going.  I even questioned if I was letting my followers and readers down for straying from the “minimalist backpacker” persona I’d become.  How invested were others in me being the image of a low-maintenance backpacker?  How invested was/am I?  

Even more questions came to the surface.  Like, where I will be another year from now?  If I wanted to, could I continue to live this lifestyle for the long haul?  Will I still be on the road next year? Or will I be back in the throws of my old life with a high pressure job, a nice paycheck and high profile surroundings?  Is this the life I want, still?  Where does that mean I will go?  Maybe I’ll end up somewhere in the middle of low-maintenance/low-budget and flashy, shiny and new.  Somewhere literally between my backpack and a yacht.  What does that even mean?  Who knows?     

What I do know is that I have come to appreciate experiences like this so much more than I ever did before and will continue to be grateful when opulence, in any form, comes my way.

Traveling- especially as I have- humbles you as a human being and makes you appreciate the little things in life.  Every time something luxurious falls into my lap or something just happens with ease and without difficulty, I do a little happy dance, and during my first three days in Athens I couldn’t stop “dancing.”  So, thank you HarbourSpot!  I have been fortunate to have made many memories like this luxury one, and others not-so-luxurious, in the last seven months.  I feel extremely privileged- even though I am living a life far from the privileged one I left.

Experiences have made me feel richer than all of the luxe upgraded suites I used to get during work trips and the designer clothes/jewelry/shoes packed away back home- but I still miss it all greatly.

I’m torn between two worlds, it seems.  My previous world, full of comforts and shiny things, and my current one- full of only what I can carry on my back.  I’m somewhere in between the draw towards the materialistic “finer things,” and not needing anything other than the basics.  I stand looking back- remembering my life back home, while looking out in awe of the beautiful new places before me.  It’s somewhat of an internal tug-of-war, but I really can not complain.  I’ve never been one for the “grey area” but this is a place I’d like to stay for a while.

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2 thoughts on “Torn Between Two Worlds 

  1. getrightrightnow says:

    Hey, Heather. I love this post…but the link back to your site comes up “Page not found”.

    Wow, this piece really spoke to me. I envy your courage to get out into the world and not shield yourself from all of the emotion that accompanies taking big risks. I hope you keep writing. I cheer for you as you continue to move and share your wondrous experiences. And I secretly console you in your setbacks.

    I want to share your post with the people that matter to me. I hope it is just a glitch on my computer that I cannot access this page…let me know.

    Ciao,

    Mike >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. shianne says:

    I love your thoughts. I am getting ready to set out on a long backpacking trip that involves a lot of roughing it, hiking and ultralight packing. However, I do appreciate some luxury and look forward to spending a few nights in a nice hotel here and there. I think it’s absolutely normal to enjoy aspects of both worlds, and you don’t have to pick or the other! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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