Viktorija Samarinaite / Philosophy of One Backpack
This is much more than just another story of a backpacker.
The phrase of one backpack has its own extension, carrying the wisdom of how to avoid the “Vanity Fair”, stop being suffocated by your endless desires and deal with sneaky consumerism, finding its own ways to our lives.
Viktorija Samarinaite, a freelance writer and a journalist, who experienced cockroaches in Asia, cold in the North, controversies in Iran, volcanoes in Central America and unpredictability in Georgia, tells about how a constant moving between continents teaches you the only thing – developing a simpler perception of life.
by IEVA JUODELE
photographer AUGUSTE BENDZINSKAITE
For a starter, pick one of your favourite snacks: a silkworm, a grasshopper, a tarantula, a water beetle, a crutch or the brown pants.
I would pick a tarantula, it was my favourite. Yet, it’s not as ugly as it sounds. For example, in Cambodia insects can turn into really amazing cuisine idea. I’ve tasted my bugs in the restaurant owned by the French chef, where he serves bugs in different styles – a silkworm stewed in coconut milk, grilled tarantula or grasshoppers’ chips with soy sauce and so on.
Can you assign an association to each of these countries you have visited?
Okay, that’s not so easy but I will try to name something that comes to my mind in the first place:
Nicaragua – volcano
Honduras – dreary
Tenerife – music
Thailand – a monk wearing an orange cloak
Salvador – beach
Guatemala – the ceremony of purification
Belize – jungle
Vietnam – rice
Iran – women
Finland – self-restraint
Malaysia – George Town
Laos – wilderness
Cambodia – children crying in the street
Can you name the countries and continents which were home to you for the last 3 years?
My exploration of foreign commenced in Europe, then I challenged myself with the North and had moved to Finland where I spent 6 months. After Finland, I travelled to Georgia, and it was my home for the following half of the year. Georgia was a stop between Europe and Asia, so I had spent some time discovering the Middle East. Then – India for one year and Nepal. Later, it was Southeast Asia until my pin was dropped to the other side of the World – Central America.
With all of these locations in scope, would you exclude India as a special place for spiritual experience?
India exposes all of the life forms in one layer – it doesn’t try to hide the poverty, the luxury, illness or happiness, everything happens in one place, at one time, altogether. I had spent one year in Delhi and even now I can admit that the real shock happened to me once I got back to Europe, to our sterile world, which seems to perfectly cover the misfortunes of our society. We rarely see the sick one, the disabled one in the streets.
After what I’ve seen, I would define India being an accelerator of life.
Yet, what is your top destination?
Palanga. Believe it or not, it was the journey of my life. I lived there for 3 months during winter and it was an absolutely eye-opening experience.
Once I had inconvenient thoughts or unsolved situations in my mind, the sea and the pine forest was there to absorb me, to answer my questions.
Could you extract some basic types of travelers?
Well, there exist some of them.
I would say weekend travelers, backpackers (one type of backpackers supported by their parents financially, and the other type – self-sustainable backpackers), digital nomads – travelers who are on so-called “workations” – they work and travel all at once. And the last type I don’t really like – no-money travelers. The ones who travel on the others’ account. They often use such portals as Couchsurfing, WWOOF, Workonomy and such.
Can you name a few habits the way you travel?
I usually have a one-way ticket and I admit of being bad at planning. Even so, before any trip, I aim to speak to people and study the location, it includes a lot of reading.
I guess the main feature of the way I travel is a policy of 1 backpack. I still haven’t learnt how to pack my things smartly, yet, one backpack sets you free at some point. You don’t buy things you don’t need, you don’t even buy the things you need – just because there is no one for you to carry them.
Naming the bad habit – I still can’t leave without a hardcover book.
Can you list some of the tips for the others, who wish to make their journey experience minimal?
1. On your trip: if you buy a thing, you throw a thing.
2. Before checking out of your accommodation, leave it clean after yourself, leave it better than it was.
3. Use the international currency of kindness. Give others without thinking.
4. Just stop spending: money is necessary for food, for accommodation, for transportation.
5. Once you stop spending, it doesn’t mean you can use others to support your travel – learn taking care of yourself.
What outcome shall all of your journeys bring?
I wish to make my skills get a physical body. And that might be a book.