“Not all those who wander are lost.” J.R.R. Tolkien
Cast off. Don’t stay moored! Paradise has not been lost. It is only hiding – to be discovered by those who knowingly embark on an unknown adventure. That was the preface to my almost three years of life-changing backpacking walk-about throughout Europe, the Middle East/Turkey and the UK.
Marco Polo was not the first European to travel to China, but the chronicles of his epic journey inspired many – including Christopher Columbus, European cartographers – and myself.
Even as a well-read person – which I thought I was, having ravaged books about South American, European and Asian civilizations from the age of 12 – I was refreshingly surprised by the gap in my knowledge of historical and cultural gems elsewhere on the planet.
My Journey has become my Destination.
What do you return with from your travels?
Most people will bring back a few T-shirts, some bits and pieces and a camera, mobile phone or iPad loaded with photos. But what we all return with is a montage of memories of what we did, whom we met, where and what we ate – exciting and tender moments. Pictures and experiences etched in our minds – around which we will have conversations for a lifetime to come.
Travel provides you with an insight, a heightened experience and conscious opportunity to learn about life – tradition, culture, food, clothing and the way others conduct their major ceremonies of marriage, welcoming babies into the world, entering adulthood and burials.
It helps you find your own place in a diverse world – realizing that you are a stitch in the larger unfolding Tapestry of Life at this moment in Time – grateful for being here and the opportunity to live a life of awe.
“There are no ‘lesser’ people, only different people” – Lesson Number One from my travels. Other selected ones include:
- Be humble and share. You are not the center of the universe.
- Different points of view exist. Respect them.
- We all share the same little blue dot.
- Appreciate other cultures. Make friends regardless of sex, race, religion, color, creed, culture.
- Both young and old have opinions and much to contribute.
- Health is wealth.
- Appreciate the structure within which your life has meaning.
- There is always a friend somewhere.
- Money does not buy everything.
Traveling is much what you make of it. Guard the quality of you travels by remaining in a positive frame of mind. Recognize that both people and weather are “part attitude, part nature” and not to allow either to disturb your travels.
It is worth the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to have the same approach to any “bad weather days” that Life may deal you.
I have found that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them ~ Mark Twain.
I have travelled alone as well as with partners and enjoyed both experiences. I am never bored with my own company – and through reflection have become more acquainted with myself.
Time changes everything. You can only do something once for the first time. There is no second “first time”. You never stand on the banks of the same river twice. Life is not a loop, though we sometimes want to make it one – seeking comfort in the trappings of stability and a safe nest to keep returning to.
On reflection though, we stand at the Dawn of a New and Unexplored Day every day we are alive. May Courage be you travelling partner through it.
As a backpacker I did not plan my days – or even the countries I visited – in detail. I did not travel to go anywhere specific, but rather to keep traveling. To experience. To move. And not through boredom, but driven to turn the mental pages of unwritten books. The journeys I have not traveled. The cultures I have not explored. To try satisfy the bit of Marco Polo inside of me.
It is still there inside of me but now tempered by the responsibility to provide my Life’s Partner with more permanency and less fleet-footedness. The “I” have become “We”. Though we have already lived in and travelled through many countries since we met.
We share a journey on this tiny speck of galactic dust. As a child I followed the beep-beep of Russia’s Sputnik in 1957 and the unfolding space race, dreaming of travel amongst the stars, hoping to one day personally see the marvels of the Universe unfurl.
Travel puts us in spiritual context with the rest of the Universe and its creation.
In the broader spectrum we are all on a journey through our own personal Universe – Life. And one day we will cast off, not to return to the same place.
- Travel provides one with insight, a heightened experience and opportunity to learn about life.
- There are no ‘lesser’ people, only different people.
- Traveling – as is Life – is what you make of it. Do not let “bad weather days” disturb it.
- We stand at the Dawn of a New and Unexplored Day every day we are alive.
- I did not travel to go anywhere specific – just to try satisfy the bit of Marco Polo inside of me.
- In the broader spectrum we are all on a journey through our own personal Universe – Life.
- Let an inner journey discover who you are.
- Appreciate, enjoy and respect the simple and invaluable things in life – which money can’t buy.
- Approach with a positive spirit the “bad weather days” that Life may deal you.
- Let Courage be your travelling partner every day you are alive.
- Temper Life with responsibility – especially when “I” becomes “We”. But don’t stop living.
- Cast off – don’t stay moored.