In this essay, Sadie Scotch shares her experiences of backpacking across countries as she discovers new people, new places, and new words while trying to discover the true meaning of life.
I can tell you exactly where I was the first time I heard someone say, “YOLO.” Because I’ve traveled so much and moved around constantly, I just have to recall the order of the places from which I was coming and going, and I can pinpoint locations to my memories. The first time I heard the word, YOLO, I was hiking in Nepal.
Eating my lunch in the mountains, I watched as a young boy jumped on the back of a Nepalese man’s motorcycle, and as they were taking off in a procession of adolescents on tour, he shouted, “YOLO!” The Australian man, Brandon, I was hiking with for two weeks laughed and said, “Only the kids were using that expression.” I asked what it meant, and he looked a bit surprised, perhaps even a little embarrassed, like it wasn’t cool for him to know these things. He told me, “It means You Only Live Once.”