What is the purpose of Travel?

People often ask us questions like how can we afford travel? Why didn't we book our journey from tour company, choosing riding the bikes across Mongolia instead? Why we didn't stay at hotel but camping in the public park near Metro Station, pavilion, and elementary school in Taiwan? Why we rent the car driving around Europe instead of riding the train and staying at hotel. Why we didn't go to the restaurant but buying groceries from supermarket and cooking ourselves every meal?

For us, travel is an adventure. It is a way of life. We sell and give up everything we can in order to travel. We live in a very little budget. We have to eat lots of instant ramen and camp for free in order to keep this journey going forward. We want to experience the culture in depth. We want to see the place that tourists wouldn't see. We want to go the farmers market where locals buy their food. We want to sit down and share meal and drink with local people. We want to see the truth, the whole picture of the country.

Travel is not all about pleasure. Mostly it is uncomfortable. We put ourselves into a new environment with different culture and people don't share same language with us. We have to step out of our comfort zone, giving up our ego to learn from what we have seen and what we have experienced. We have to deal with fear, insecure, doubt, physical exhaustion, frustration, fury, tears, feeling betrayed, and discouraged. Sometimes, it is hard to not letting others change who we are when we were taken advantage of. It is painful to look back and reflect on our ignorance and prejudice. We grow as a better person by going through the process of reflecting the past with different insights. Travel is the process of humbling and healing. We grow as we travel.

We are not running away from our life or responsibility. On the contrary, we are running into life. We are trying our best to share our experiences, acknowledging that we are the citizens of the world, and spreading the positivity to make this world a little bit better.

故事的開始

2015年的7月,我抵達了美國的舊金山機場,搭了兩個小時的接駁車後,到達加州首都:沙加緬度。

我永遠記得踏上美國的那一刻的感覺,那是一種迎接全新的人生跟夢想成真的感覺。但同時,從舊金山機場一路到戴維斯、沙加緬度的景色,和我想像中的美國有極大的落差:這裡有繁華的街道、泛著金光大夏跟高樓,卻也有髒亂不堪的街景,和數量驚人的流浪漢。我就像劉姥姥,被車窗外流轉的每個景色深深震撼著。

接下來,一切都是新的開始。還記得第一次過馬路,我們連怎麼過馬路都不知道,還把一個在旁邊慢跑的路人攔下來問,後來才知道原來過馬路要按按鈕。我和一起來到美國的台灣室友笑著說,連過馬路都得重新開始學!我們就像初生之犢,雖然畏懼,但也只能硬著頭皮從頭學起。

我們開始學著怎麼搭公車跟輕軌、去監理站辦證件、去銀行開戶、租房子、處理家中的水電網路、去學校報到準備入學。我們適應用另一種語言表達跟溝通、適應在異地完全截然不同的文化。在這裡租房子,是完全沒有傢俱的,而且沒水沒電沒網路,一切都得自己去不同的公司處理。有時候,輕軌可能因為不明原因遲到一兩個小時。美國地大,大眾交通工具不像台灣這麼方便,去一個地方公車跟輕軌繞一繞也要一兩個小時。一天下來,能辦好的事情也非常有限,加上時差,我們每天都疲憊不堪。我們還得學會提高警覺。因為搭輕軌的時候,可能會有奇怪的人搭訕,或是流浪漢來要錢。對我們來說,一切都和台灣是截然不同的世界!

那時候,想省錢的我們,來到美國的第一餐是麥當勞,我們兩個人分著一個漢堡吃,結果晚上一整個餓到不行!家裡的傢俱只有一個床墊,連床架都省了。熱的時候捨不得開冷氣、冷的時候也捨不得開暖氣。因為外食昂貴,我們開始學著去超市買菜做料理,每天都非常充實忙碌。

很多人會質疑,為什麼一個家境小康,而且已經有大學學歷、穩定工作的我,還要花這麼多錢,大老遠跑去美國唸社區大學,而不是追求更高的學歷?其實申請學校的時候,學校也很疑惑的問我們念社區大學的目的。其實,我到美國唸社大並不是為了追求學歷,而是為了找尋對人生的熱情,做一件自己最想做的事,用盡全力的把它做好。對很多人來說,這樣的理由可能很空洞、不切實際。但從小接受台灣的教育長大的我,因為在學業上並不突出,不自覺的總是用成績來定義自己。念到大學,腦中總有很多想法,但總沒自信去實踐,也找不到自己熱情的所在。我的目標很簡單,就是跳脫這個框架,找到自我並且實踐。抱著即使沒有找到就當作是去練英文的心情,我踏上了著個充滿驚喜的旅程。