Where Will It All End: An Interview

Lahore, Pakistan
Lahore, Pakistan

In August, 2008, Dave of The Longest Way Home, was interviewed about his search for that (proverbial) place we all like to call… Well… Home. The place where we set up a permanent camp, decorate the walls, kick off our boots at night, put books on the shelves, have home-cooked meals, and maybe don’t have to close the door when in the bathroom. Okay – a bit graphic but isn’t that part of what “home” really means? A place of comfort, security and belonging?

It’s now 2010. Has Dave found a home or is he still on the hunt? We took time to check back in with him to find out. Some things have changed. Some have not. But no matter what, in traveling that elusive road for these additional two years – life is no longer the same.

In your last interview, you were asked if you thought you were coming close to finding your new home. You replied, “Good question. Yes. I could name places, but in truth it’s a long answer. I am literally out there trying to find a place to call home, I have no alternative.” Are you any closer 2+ years later?

It’s still a good question! And, the answer is yes. However, one must take into account I am not taking this journey’s goal lightly. It is my life.

Living in a different culture for good, is very different to both traveling, and temporarily living overseas.

Over the past two years I have tried living in different environments with social integration a top priority. Living in a different culture for good, is very different to both traveling, and temporarily living overseas. It’s something I have to try, and it’s vitally important for the end game. I’ve also focused more on trying to improve my finances when traveling. This has come through my website, photography, writing and … shall we say “opportune skills” when on the road.

Lastly, and most recently, I’ve also been returning to bureaucracy/politics when trying to find a place to live. Not an easy topic in any part of the world these days. But again, I have to overcome this one way or another.

Ifugao Rice Terrace Worker - Sagada, The Philippines
Ifugao Rice Terrace Worker – Sagada, The Philippines

In the same reply, you stated: “I seriously don’t want to end up a homeless old nomad roaming around on the road.” Do you still feel the same or has the additional time on the road and two more years (proverbially) “under your belt” changed your outlook?

Yes, more so than ever. I will fully admit to feeling tired these days. Traveling without a home base or family over this duration takes its toll. I don’t return to anywhere, I don’t have anywhere or anyone to welcome me home. No battery recharges, no support. That said, I didn’t have much of that growing up either. So the emotional side of things are pretty much fine. It’s the battery recharge I could do with. A place to kick off these travel boots, not worry about putting my passport out on a table, and eating a home cooked meal.

During those middle-of-the-night hours when the mind tends to wander, do you ever think: If I actually choose a place to call home then my travels are over? If so, does that frighten you?

No not at all. The sooner the better. Once there I’ll write about what it is like to finally find it. And, how it’s all working out! Not only that, but I might be able to wear non-travel clothes, print photographs, and write another book. But, most importantly, I can finally say I have a place called home.

I know you admire Wade Shepard and his family (VagbondJourney.com) for being on the road for 10 years. Who else inspires you?

Slight correction if I may. I admire Wade & family for how they are chasing their dreams rather than for being on the road for ten years. Moreover, Wade’s approach to travel writing is honest, practical, and real. There are far too many travel sites out there rehashing the same old stuff over and over again.

When I think back to what I’ve been through, and how far I’ve come, I get a warm feeling. This is a good thing.

Other people who inspire me? Karl Bushby. Another traveler who had nothing, and went for it with everything he had. Show me someone who’s had it rough in life, and or is truly giving it their all to succeed; and they will have my respect.

Finally, in a non-egotistical way, I have in the past few years begun to find myself inspiring. When I think back to what I’ve been through, and how far I’ve come, I get a warm feeling. This is a good thing.

Have your own philosophies (religious or otherwise) changed as you have traveled from country to country?

Okay, this question has me stumped. In truth I’d like to be paid a lot of money to answer this. Why? Because if I told the blunt truth of what I have found, I don’t think many people would like to hear it. Maybe I’ll write an article about it on TravelBlogs soon! (*Editor’s note: Write the article!)

Stilt House Girl - The Philippines
Stilt House Girl – The Philippines

That said, what I have discovered is that although people from every country are basically the same. The facts are, many people with power are getting away with bad things, and those without are loosing everything. This I find is a reflection on society today. Maybe it’s the new hunter/scavenger instinct for the modern age.

Humans are selfish by nature, we know this. But we have intellect too. Sadly, it’s not evolved enough yet to help each other out. There are most certainly good people out there, a lot. But, their voices are being drowned out by something much heavier.

I think history will dictate that we are living in interesting times. Social networks, an interconnected world and information surround us. Yet with this we have shorter attention spans and a lack of motivation to go out of our way to be different.

Have you ever reached that point where you felt your endeavor has become a futile one? (A simple “no” will not suffice.)

Recently the politics in The Philippines and in the U.K. has made me feel this way. I wrote on my site that I think the only way I can get over this is to turn a blind eye. It’s society that makes politics change, not politics. When every country you look to as a potential home is swathed in allegations of corruption it doesn’t motivate you.

It seems with every answer I find, a new question pops up. But those answers are leading me to something few people find.

Currently, you are in the Philippines. Do you have your next destination mapped out or do we have to “stay tuned” for a while longer?

Yes, I do, several. What one I choose, is a different story. I asked my readers about Australia or New Zealand a few months back. I will be answering that very soon. I also think it’s time to return to a few places. This will be the first time I’ve done so on my journey so far. I’m looking forward to it. And, it’s most certainly a big step.

For the curious, there are only one or two places in South East Asia that I think are potentials for home. Malaysia is one place I want to experience that I think has options. Then there’s Cambodia for development work, but I think that’s a road I don’t want to go down again.

Being “a man of mystery”, are you really The Invisible Man, Sherlock Holmes, Austin Powers, James Bond, Irving R. Levine or some other behind-the-scenes-international-suave-and-slightly-rakish aristocrat? Please be specific in case we run into you in a dark alley somewhere – maybe in Morocco…

Ha ha! This reminds me that I really must publish my Morocco page soon! Let me clear the air a little. It’s on my about page, but I’ll be more specific here.

Street Child - Nepal
Street Child – Nepal

I am documenting my travels in search of something many people in the world wish to have. There are millions of people from all walks of life scraping and crawling their way to find a better place to live. I am no different. I am, however putting it all online in the form of my journals. Some people get it, others pass by as if it’s just a travel adventure. So long as you take something good, useful or enjoyable from it, then you’re in the right place.

I am, however putting it all online in the form of my journals. Some people get it, others pass by as if it’s just a travel adventure. So long as you take something good, useful or enjoyable from it, then you’re in the right place.

At the end of the day, if I choose to live in a country that is home, I will not leave, period. Bureaucracy, it seems, dictates that I’m of little use to any country. I don’t have a degree, and am over 30. So, no working visas. Does anyone really think that will stop me?

With that answer in mind, I do not particularity want my details splashed all over the likes of Facebook for the good people at immigration to misinterpret and conclude on. It happened in Tibet and Nepal already. I’ve spent a huge amount of time in Mindanao in The Philippines where more journalists have been killed than anywhere else on earth. I stand out a little here as a foreigner. So no thanks, I don’t like the idea of handing my head on a platter to the wrong people here either.

I’ve turned down big opportunities to go public, but the biggest opportunity has not been offered up yet. A place called home. Find me that, and you’ll have my Orwellian credentials. In the meantime, sit back and follow me on my journey. It’s never been done like this before. It’s my life’s work in progress. Whether it ends in tragedy or fulfillment, I am in it until the end.

You can follow the search at The Longest Way Home.

*Editor’s notes: All photographs courtesy of The Longest Way Home.

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Discussion »

  • #1John Bardos - JetSetCitizen

    Great interview!

    It is a very noble quest to look for a place to call home. I personally always felt out of place in my home country of Canada. At every stage in my life, I haven’t had the same interests and aspirations of peers and friends. Moving abroad to Japan was the first time I actually felt at ‘home’.

    For me, feeling at home is not about fitting in. I actually prefer to be an outsider because it is more interesting that way. The difference is that in other countries it is usually good to be an outsider. In your home country you are just strange.

  • #2Debbie

    Fascinating! I really get what he means my living in another country is very different than traveling or working there.

    I lived overseas for two years and backpackers really didn’t pick up what it was like. I could only imagine what Dave has learned. He seems to have his head screwed on right in doing this. Would make a great book!

  • #3winner

    Yes, living and visiting is very different. In order to know local culture and custom, you have to stay longer in the place and learning their language too. It may not make you comfortable and feel not at “home.” I personally can feel at home wherever I go.

  • #4baghsarai

    I haven’t had the same interests and aspirations of peers and friends. Moving abroad to Japan was the first time I actually felt at ‘home’.

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