Destination X: Keishiro’s Return To Backpacking After 15 Years
Full-time father, husband and employee of a global tech company—Keishiro wouldn’t strike you as the backpacking sort. Yet, at his core, his spirit seeks adventure and quite frankly—was starved of it. With a cult following, every now and then, the name ‘Anywhr’ graces the conversations of friends, family or colleagues. Which is how Keishiro (and so many others) discovered Anywhr's unique surprise travel service but more importantly, the change we want to make in people’s attitudes towards travel.
As a Japanese national, Keishiro doesn’t have the fortune of having the ‘second most powerful passport’ in the world. Which meant Anywhr had to get him a visa before sending him off to Destination X. A service extended to all travellers—should they need it. Where did Keishiro ask to be sent when filling out his preferences? Somewhere, anywhr, where ‘I can only go WITHOUT family and small children.’ because sometimes, you need a break from being a dad.
The Starving Backpacker
15 years ago—Keishiro was a backpacker. Trotting the globe, riding motorbikes and chasing adventure. Before becoming an IT consultant, ‘Backpacker Keishiro’ volunteered and earned his backpacking stripes (or would straps be more fitting?) in Eastern Europe and also did the South-East Asian circuit—which has become an unofficial rite-of-passage for all backpackers.
These days, Keishiro’s travelling comprises of the occasional getaway to nearby family-friendly beach resorts. With the needs of his wife and two young children to consider—familiarity, safety and comfort (unsurprisingly) have become the priorities when choosing a family holiday destination.
It was an eventuality—that Keishiro would pack his bag and set out on an adventure, without his family, if the opportunity presented itself. Sure enough, a window of opportunity swung open. The fresh air and resplendent light of possibility filled his imagination. Throw in the singing of a choir of angels for good measure. With the green light from his missus, he began planning and envisioning his comeback. Like a prize fighter coming out of retirement, he was in search of experiences to grab him by the collar—dragging him out of the comfortable bubble he’d become accustomed to. A punch to the face. A jolt to the senses.
Like Rocky Balboa, was Keishiro ready for his return to the ring? Was he ready to rumble?
Anywhr Not Anyhow
Playing by Anywhr’s rules, Keishiro only opened his envelope at the airport. As he broadcasted the location of Destination X via social media, he soon discovered that all but two friends had no idea such a place existed.
His wife while probably concerned like how any significant other would be—if their partner went on a solo trip—understood that this was something Keishiro had to do. A journey he had to make to satisfy his spirit of adventure.
With the 24/7 support Anywhr provides its travellers, she would have rested easier. However, it wasn’t until sitting down with Keishiro did the Anywhr team realise that some travellers might not have read their travelogue thoroughly. In Keishiro’s case, he thought he had been sent to the wilderness—alone—armed only with his (kickass) Travelogue. No—Keishiro—no, you weren’t alone. The friendly and soothing voices of Anywhr's team (Founders included) was only a phone call away. As we talked and made this discovery, we laughed with our traveller, realising how much more adventurous his surprise trip must have felt.
Rumble In A Far-Flung Jungle
Destination X is known as the most sparsely populated region in its country. So it was safe to assume Keishiro got the adventure he was looking for. He concurred. Where Mother Nature still reigns supreme and indigenous tribes are aplenty.
It wasn’t long before Keishiro’s instincts kicked in. Renting himself a scooter—the preferred motorised mode of transport of those looking to get stuck into local life—without having to walk. Opting for the ‘comfort’ of a car is almost always, an outright rejection of the experiences awaiting you. With no windows to shield and block your senses from the environment, motorbikes will get you around quickly without blindfolding your perspective, manoeuvering narrower pathways that cars can't—just remember to get a helmet like Keishiro.
Smooth sailing and adventure. It just doesn't happen. But with his helmet, Keishiro mitigated any bump and bruise that would have been a cause for concern. Our adventurous traveller chuckled as he told us about how he took a tumble while riding on rough terrain—his only concern? If he’d be able to make the trek to a waterfall that he eventually visited.
Sharing The Spirit Of Adventure
‘Would you take your family on an Anywhr trip?’ we probed Keishiro for the second or third time now. ‘I missed my wife and kids when I saw other couples,’ he admitted, before going on to say ‘maybe for a getaway… but I’d want to go with friends and colleagues on adventure style (trips)’ he said, before explaining that he feels his children are still too young. Perhaps their father would consider showing them the ropes of backpacking in the future.
*Related Post: Why We Travel: Disconnect To Reconnect
But for now, Keishiro like other travellers seeking adventures, are more inclined to be unencumbered when setting out on such trips. Often strapped for time, hassle-free adventures give you a break from the routine of the grind—these journeys inspire and reinvigorate.