People always like to see themselves as being at the center of the world and proudly enjoy doing so. A map sold in China will put China at the center, one sold in Europe will put Europe at the center, one sold in Australia, as I was told, will put the south hemisphere on the top and Australia at the center. The fact is that the earth is, thank heaven, round. You can see it in whatever ways you like and whatever ways that satisfy the collective pride of a people, a pride that is sometimes justified and necessary.
This summer trip starts from the unabashedly dubbed capital of the new world, NYC, to the de facto capital of the old world, London, with an excursion to Edinburgh to satisfy my own longtime curiosity of Scotland bagpipe and kilt.
Five years ago, Bob Xu showed me a book called With Three Thousand USD, I traveled around the world. It was a fascinating book to read at that time, for it not only gave an account of a world totally exotic to me, but also showed the possibility of seeing the world without first being ridiculously rich. As my younger cousin recited the lesson Nothing to Sell and Nothing to Buy in New Concept English to me over Skype several weeks ago, I was quite delightful to see the connection between me and a tramp, or in fact, any backpacker and a tramp. A part of the lesson reads “His few material possession make it possible for him to move from place to place with ease. By having to sleep in the open, he gets far closer to the world of nature than most of us ever do. He may hunt, beg, or steal occasionally to keep himself alive; he may even in times of real need, do a little work; but he will never sacrifice his freedom.”
Backpacking is not about a bag, a ticket, a hostel and a destination, that’s what backpacking needs, not what it is. What backpacking really is is wherever you want to go, you go.