The bright side of being on a journey
(Listen to music while reading blog post.)
I‘m sitting in the sadly gunky capital, staring at the fog and smog through the windows and trying to transform my coffee and inner sunshine into a blog post, while thinking about the dynamics of travel. Come with me and let’s see the bright side of life.
I just started to travel on my own and the way I like to explore the world is constantly changing. But one thing I know for sure, one sentence was just imprinted in my mind a year ago when Balázs first told me this on a trekking trip: every travel is in fact an exploration of ourselves.
Certainly it is less true for all-inclusive organized trips with a bunch of your fellow citizens, you get everything ready to consume and the only thing you should do is to enjoy relax and smile in happiness. Not bad either, but when you travel solo, everything changes. You have to embrace an incredible amount of responsibility, you should only count on yourself and the unknown might be quite scary, as well as leaving your well-known, well-desired warm home for some unseen adventure.
And well, this is the best part.
For the true control freaks like myself who love (and hate at the same time) to keep control above every aspect of life, it is a huge challenge to open up for the unknown, not to plan and not to control events. It turns out very soon that it is impossible and pointless anyway. You need to believe that those things are happening to you are the best things possible for you, even if you planned otherwise. If you let life surprise you, usually the best things are coming into your way, much better than you’d expect. To achieve this, you need to loose control and a big amount of trust in life, in fate, in the universe, in rain gods and in hot coffee. But really worth it, because it leads to unbelievable adventures. And from this point of view it is all the same whether it is a friendly smile between strangers on a train somewhere deep in Myanmar or a sudden levada walk by the valleys of Madeira. Travel is truly unpredictable and this I think is the best possible option.
The more you travel and experience the more open you become. You get to know totally different people than those you usually meet at your place day after day, you have a chance to observe cultures nothing to do with yours, not to mention you need to learn and understand a lot of things about different customs and ways of life, you have to accept diversity without judging it. You make mistakes, sometimes smaller ones, other times bigger, but you experience and learn from them all. You realize that every single person has a story to tell and you can learn something from everybody and if you watch closely, you can be a better person.
You find yourself in a different life situation, you are freed from daily routine. You get hit by new experiences, try new things, have new habits. You’ll never be the same person you’d been before starting your journey. And this is the best possible outcome. You become more polite and more emphatic, you can understand others much more. Because you were in their situation before, because you experienced different roles. You help more often and helping makes you more and more happy. Helping in every aspect of life, it can be giving directions for a traveller, giving a ride to a hitchhiker or share your last piece of cake with someone (believe me, I could tell about it a lot, being an only child…)
As soon as you leave your comfort zone behind, you change. Maybe not in the very first moment, but soon. As different types of experiences start coming to your way. The things that make you angry or upset in everyday life just make you smile while you live in harmony with yourself. And finding harmony is much easier in a world where you don’t have to deal with financial obligations, where nobody bumps into you three times while shopping, while people don’t tend to hit you on the highway, where you are not in a hurry, you don’t need to secure your home with alarms and security cameras, where you don’t have to be afraid of something bad happening, you don’t be late for anywhere and don’t have insane deadlines and your alarm clock doesn’t ring at 6am on every single weekday.
Your wrinkles smoothen, grin comes to the face, you find inner peace, really important things come to first place in your life, you’re surrounded by positive people, and out of the blue you find yourself being happy about tiny little things in life. Because suddenly the lot of shit you left behind makes room for cool adventures. You get rid of your watch and don’t give a shit to your ringing phone. You count time based on the sun and feel more comfortable sleeping under the sky full of stars than in your own comfy bed. You get warmth by the fire not by central heating. You watch the setting sun above the ocean every evening instead of television. You make conversations, you laugh, you spend quality time with others. Your lungs filled up with clean air and you sleep well because the oxygen, the healthy lifestyle and the lack of stress. You eat well and not just hurry for a quick lunch between two meetings. You enjoy going crazy.
You are constantly changing. Travel shapes you like a good potter shapes a piece of clay. And you can be 100% sure the shape will be more and more beautiful.
You see the world. You experience. You learn humbleness. You learn to love.
You receive and you respect. You start to believe in yourself. You have memories.
You smile and make others smile.
You are happy.
You are grateful.
(Photos were taken in the island of Crete, in Chania and Rethimno, carnival season.)