Roaming Backpacks has gone on an extended hiatus for quite some time. In fact, it has been more than 2 years (!) since anything was posted here. And the post before that? October 2015! That almost feels like ancient history.

So Cecilia and I are excited, but also a little embarrased to be returning to this platform that we had created all those years ago.

Much has happened during our hiatus from Roaming Backpacks. Cecilia and I had moved on from our former careers in Hong Kong, and relocated to Vancouver on Canada’s west coast for graduate school. Our decision to move to Canada was sparked, in part, by our previous journeys to this beautiful country. Those journeys continued long after we had settled in to our new lives.

That was in 2014–around four years ago. Since then, our understanding and experience of travel seemed to have evolved somewhat. Our curiosity and enthusiasm for exploring the world has not changed. But travelling had become more than going places, meeting people, and seeking new or “exotic” experiences. Rather, we increasingly desire to return to places and peoples we had encountered on our previous journeys. Going back to the Canadian Rockies for the 10th time, or embarking on a days-long detour to visit the café in the middle of the Japanese Alps seems rather excessive extravagant (after all, travelling is not free). But still, we find that there is something magical about the act of returning.

The act of returning, we realised, is to experience a familiarity that has also become unsettlingly unfamiliar; it is like meeting a long, lost friend. Everything appears to be the same, but one also senses that something must have changed. Trapped in this liminal space, we realised nothing in life–not even our relationships to the world around us–is ever helpd in permanence, for time is always fluid, and always in motion.

If there are no practical means for us to subvert the temporality of time, returning could be an opportunity for us to revisit and re-learn our relationships to the world, for such relationships may have become distant fragments of memories inside our consciousness.

No doubt, the notion of travelling as returning is premised on the understanding that travel is not simply a pleasurable and occasional act of escapism from our routines, but also an avenue for us for explore, construct, and maintain meaningful relationships to places and peoples around us. In other words, if travelling enables the formation of human relationships, then returning could be key to letting those relationships grow and flourish.

Hence by returning to Roaming Backpacks, it is hoped that we could reflect on our past adventures as much as we look forward to having new ones. We invite you to join us on this journey.