For the past month, I have been living in a tent on camping Rodero, San Vincente, Spain. I was send over there to teach Belgian kids (aged 14 - 17, who were there on holiday), graffiti.
In this blogpost I will share 4 things that I learned during my stay.
San Vincente is known as a small but decent surfspot. Being the enthusiastic surfer that I am, it didn't take long to say yes when the travelling company called me up, asking if I was interested in teaching some kids graffiti as one of their various activities during the camp. I immediately decided to go for 4 weeks straight. I hadn't been on a decent holiday for over 2 years. (NOTE: I don't think of city trips as a holiday. I have to be active, sport a lot, risk my life in dangerous adventures and get drunk every odd evening and fall in love before I can call it a holiday.)
How To Survive
Living in a tent is never easy. It can be comfortable. It certainly is fun to do. But easy? No. The first thing you're confronted with is the limited space you have. You need to stash your clothes somewhere, place your sleeping bag, hang out wet clothes, find a dry spot for your books and still maintain a sort of 'hallway' where you can walk through / turn around in. (My tent was big enough for me to stand in.)
The tent existed out of 2 compartments. An outer tent (the complete outside) and an inner tent (sleeping compartment) which takes up half the space inside the outer tent. The inner tent was easy to maintain. I considered it holy turf, no shoes were allowed in order to keep it as clean as possible. the zippers had to be closed at all times, so no bugs could get in. I mainly used this section for sleeping or chillaxing.
On rainy days I would retreat to my tent with a can of coffee and a good book. (I recommend 'Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance)
The other part of the tent was trickier. It wasn't perfectly closed off from the outside world, so each morning when the air was humid it made everything that lay in the tent a bit moist. The tent also allowed bugs and snails to come in through various holes.
In order to survive my month in Spain I had to heavily rely on structure and train my organizational skills. I cleaned out the outer tent once every 2-3 days. It doesn't take long for a tent to get dirty if you walk around in dust, mud and sand all day long. Keeping it clean is a high priority. You don't want your tent to turn into a mud bath. Along with the cleaning I made sure that I put all my stuff back into the right place. When I use something, I probably don't put in back in the exact same place. Some people call it chaotic or lazy. I say that I'm really efficient and want to get going. It's easier for me to save up the chaotic mess until it becomes too much to bear.
Wherever you will go there you are
Most people go on holiday to 'escape'. They pick a far away destination in the assumption that the further away they are from home, the more rewarding and freeing the trip will be.
WRONG! There is one thing you can never run from. Yourself. Going to another city or country might give you a rush of adventure at first. Once the dust settles and the adventure isn't that new anymore you're back to the old you. All your problems will once again face you. I noticed this in my fellow crew members. When they first arrived you could see the sparks in their eyes. They were enthusiastic and happy like never before! After a couple of days it faded away and they restored back to their normal personalities.I don't consider travelling as a way out or as a ritual to 'get to know myself'. I can discover my own flaws perfectly at home.
Keeping in touch
I like toys, and the Iphone 5 is one of them. It allows me to not only keep in touch with my friends and family, while I was away. It also grants me access to the internet when I'm standing in the middle of a cornfield, 3 miles away from any sign of civilization.Most of the knowledge I gain comes from online sources. There are various feeds, mentors,... that I follow. In 4 weeks, all those feeds create a huge pile of data that I have to shift through. This leaves me 2 options.
- Focus on my trip and let the data pile up. The shifting won't happen untill I get back home.
- I can check out once every 2 days what has been posted, judge if it's worth reading/watching/listening or not and save it in a list/folder if it is worth my time.
Evidently, I picked number 2. When I got back home I had a clear, defined list of articles and videos that I had to check out. With this method I didn't miss anything valuable and saved both time and effort.
Although my graffiti name is 'DAWN' I do not like waking up early when I'm home. Even with 5 different alarms placed strategically in my bedroom, I can't get out of bed. The condition that gets me up in the morning is when there is somebody else counting on my presence. Either a client or a friend. If they're counting on me, I'm the first one to jump out of bed.The same thing happened in Spain. Going out for a morning surf is a wonderful experience. The beach is clean and empty, the waves look good, the sun is coming up... there's nothing like it. Enjoying the early morning waves requires me to get up at 6:40 AM. An impossible job to do when I'm back home but in Spain it seems to work. However I still need other people to expect me to rise up this early. No matter how badly I wanted to go, if I was the only one going, I didn't.Agreeing with others to do certain things is a great way to push myself into doing things I wouldn't normally do by myself.
Travelling is fun! This trip has inspired me to check out other opportunities that allow me to both work and live in another country/city for a certain period.
Please let me know what you think of this article in the comments section!