Nowadays, travelling is not as it used to be before. Everything is much more mapped and trodden and everyone seems to be ready to take the leap and explore other countries, some ticking off a list of the biggest number of places possible, others looking for a deeper connection to the culture of exchange. No matter how your travel profile is, you will probably be identified with most of the signs of ‘travel awakening’, pointed out below. May your desire be to buy the next flight or to plan your next travel adventure.
- We realise that important things are no longer things
Carrying a 50 liter backpack with all the belongings that will make our livings for the next year of travelling, is just the first step we take to become detached of material things. But way more important: what will often make us feel complete and connected is nothing else but people, experiences, gestures, sensations and Energy and this is the proof that all these physical objects we tend to accumulate are meaningless.
- We learn how to save money and resources
Not only we need to be constantly attentive to the money we spend (long term travels are always a minus signal on our accounts and not the opposite), but we also see ourselves running out of important things if we don’t get to manage them well: water, food, medicine, electricity and even our energy and physical capacities. Do you remember how is it to simply wash your teeth or rinse the fruits and vegetables before you eat them? It requires us to be cautious for saving on bottled water. And so we learn how to reconsider these little things that we only give value when our home is this little point in the sky, far off from where we are. And how important is that.
- We open ourselves to present situations and people
There’s no other choice to get the best out of our travels, especially balancing the state of solitude with the need for socialization. When we don’t know a thing that others certainly do, we ask; when we are concerned about a situation and we just need someone to calm us down, we mean it; when we want a feedback about an experience that we are just about to go for, we make sure we are given further details from those who made it first. And, come on, we all know: when serious stuff happens, are we coming out of troubles alone or is there somebody for us? Remember those amazing beings responding with their heart and making you realize we have a family a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e in the world?
- We accept others to be our own community and family
We were taught to be the individuals who need to love, protect, look after and spend most time with the ones we have blood connections with – family, simply put.
Fair enough, isn’t it? I came up directly from my mom’s body, then dad grabbed me making his hand being my very first comfort, warmth and tenderness outside-world-experience, and when they took me home I looked at this 2 years old big blue eyes staring at me and I think that was the first experiment of joyfulness of my life. Despite this fact, we all should leave it behind sometime, turn down the comfort of our lives to give place to new experiences that teach us how to be better «human beings living a social experience».
And there they are – those amazing souls, like-minded or not, full of energy, good advices, support, ideas and much love – the One and Only one family, that will be always ‘there’ for us.
- We learn how to lose control over things and accept what comes around
“Oh, I wanted that way”. “Shit, I wasn’t expecting this to happen to my car now”. “I never thought we would react that way with me”. How often do we get surprised with things that happen daily on our lives? We constantly do, right? But it becomes a different story when we are travelling and the only certainty we choose is the uncertainty itself. To be vulnerable, to be patient, to be sensate is to be ready to take the leap and pay a bit more attention to the voice that sounds out of our comfort zones. So, we learn how to let things flee from our own fingers, and that can have a powerful influence on our maturation.
- We learn how to say NO to others and a positive YES to ourselves
If, on one hand, we replace fear, negativity and lack of self confidence for a bold «Yes, I can», on the other hand, we don’t give importance to what others will be thinking about us if what is on the table is our own willingness, safety and self-respect. Who cares if you are not jumping to that motorcycle without a helmet (Asian style) just because you felt you shouldn’t, even if you ended up missing the opportunity of getting closer to that guy that awaken something on you? And what does it matter if someone thinks you’re pussy just because you didn’t go for a vodka straight after breakfast? No one but you, in the end of the day, matters.
- We replace old habits and become different people
The chewing gum after meals; the beer fueled afternoons; the two coffees per day (three?); the morning exercise; the daily hot showers; the guacamole on top of everything; the discussions with your siblings for stupid things as a t-shirt or a 5€ loan… does it sound familiar? On the road, we enter a different state of mind and some things become less important and give place to others: the intense of different spices on food, the light of dawn, the color of twilight, a deep look, an authentic smile, and even the noise of the train on the railway tracks when you are just about to start the voyage. Everything together, oh yes.
- We are aware that nothing is taken for granted. Not even our lives.
I should make the repair that this isn’t something to ‘put into use’ once in a while in life, but something to incorporate and be aware of, constantly: impermanence.
Being on the journey, means expecting less and accepting more things as they are and as they happen. Nothing can be taken for granted. When I was stopped by the lady of the check-in flights balcony of the London airport, for not having a ticket that would prove my way out of India, it was not a surprise for me. And when the guy I was supposed to meet in Morjim beach to stay for a week as a volunteer never picked up his phone, as I couldn’t find the place, I was not desiring that but it doesn’t mean I was not expecting it.
I love the fact that while I was writing this, a big centipede insect fall into my shoulder, making me jump and take all of my clothes off. I think that was quite normal but I was not expecting, this time. I just felt ‘safe’ turning around in bed and place my pillow where my dirty feet were and my feet where the pillow was before. And it just made me laugh.