Gap Semester Poetry

Backpacking Sucks: A Poem

Why backpacking sucks, and why you should do it anyways.

Backpacking, like life, is not easy –

Whatever you bring with you weighs you down

Is it worth it? How important is it really? Can you survive without it?

Going out to see the world

with your entire material world

on your back

Is it heavy?

and a world of expectations, thoughts, memories

in your mind

Is it clouding your vision?

a whirlwind of countries

capitals

historic sites

beautiful buildings

each city with its own pulse

but it can be hard to find

when drowned out by lists

Things To Do

Must-See

Top Ten

Don’t Miss

the rampant commercialism of once-meaningful places

so you discover that the pulse of a place

is people

and the way to tap in to it

is to create meaningful connections

it’s easy

Hey

Where Are You From?

then the bond is formed, immediate and unwavering

full of the excitement of being far from home

and alive

and living

but the day is over, the tour ends, bags hurriedly packed, the train leaves soon

hasty goodbyes

See You Later

a promise you aren’t sure you can keep

a new place

a new bed

new lists telling you how your experience should

Look Sound Feel

new faces

new pulse

but with every place you go

with every person you meet

you lose something

you leave a little piece of yourself

a little bit of heart behind

like a thumbtack in a map

And it hurts

And it’s not easy

And yet you keep doing it to yourself

Why?

because it’s beautiful

because everywhere you go

everyone you meet

gives you something in return

a good meal

a beautiful sunset

a bad deal

a promise not kept

Whether good or bad

it doesn’t matter

a constant exchange of knowledge

of energy

And you can always make the choice

To learn

To grow

To live

take only what you need

leave the rest behind

shed the weight like an old skin

be light and free

go with the wind

give as much as you can

fall in love

give your heart

love people and places

fully

madly

deeply

with your whole being

even when you know it will hurt you

when you know it won’t last

because in the end

none of us will.

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