A luxury is defined a state of ‘a state of great comfort or elegance, especially when involving great expense.’ As with everything in life, it is relative. What is a luxury when you’re on the road? For me, it depends upon what I am doing and how I am doing it.
When I worked full time, I would take short vacations and splurge excessively. While working as an English teacher in South Korea for one year, I took one vacation, a three day trip to Japan. I took buses, slept in hostels, and ate out for every meal. Eating out at that time was more of a necessity than a luxury – I had a limited time and I was happy to pay for the convenience of quick food. That trip spawned my idea of hitchhiking across Europe and taught me how to survive with very little money. By contrast, during that trip (which lasted around half a year), I ate out on three occasions that I can recall. Eating out was a huge luxury and each place that I ate out at, was probably (definitely) not a luxury venue by most people’s standards.
I have found that the further you push yourself – both physically and financially – the more you take great satisfaction from small things in life. These small things become luxuries because they offer you great comfort, lavish thrills. When my brother and I finished our walk across Iceland, we stopped for a pizza and fizzy drink. That greasy, 15 inch pizza and those two 500ml cans of fizzy drink, were beyond amazing. Why? Because we had been eating semi-frozen chocolate bars and uncooked instant noodles while walking 50km a day for many days.
The world changes constantly and luxuries range from alcohol, experiences, cigarettes and e-cigarettes (which are an electronic vaporiser version of a cigarette, yet cheaper than regular cigarettes and save your lungs – possibly, although research is yet to be proved conclusive), through to food and transport. And even then, it is a fine, indistinguishable line between necessity and luxury. Was I hitchhiking because I couldn’t afford public transport or was I hitchhiking because I wanted the experience? I think it was both.
Last summer, I spent two weeks on a Greek island, living by the beach. Many people would call this luxury. My friend and I slept in an abandoned building. It was a lot of fun. For me, it was a luxury to be in such a place. Many other people would not agree – they like having doors and beds and other such conveniences. But as with life, everything is relative.
What is a luxury on the road? For me, a day of sweating and a night under the stars, tops most things.