India Life Changing Nepal Spiritual Travelling

Reflections on Long-Term Travelling

Has been a long time since I posted my last article. If you look at the name of this blog you realize my belief is that, whenever one travels, one should document it, tell it to others.

That’s what I always do. And, as said by me before, «travelling is more than buying a ticket and fly somewhere. Travelling is a way of living, a part of our personality, the approach characterized by an incessant will of seeing things from different perspectives, of finding a new peace of the puzzle, each and every day». But, guess what, it was for the fact that I was not on the road anymore, I didn’t find the motivation inside of myself to post. And this is mainly because of the intense period of re-adaptation to the things I ‘left behind’ and of the embrace of the transformation that has occurred during my travels.

If you have travelled for a long period of time or if you are hankering after an experience like that, I challenge you to think on the pros and cons that come with it. Of course that the way one travels can vary much from traveller to traveller. If you have company or if you go by your own, if you have plan it in advance or just go with the flow, if you are more into sightseeing or if you prefer to randomly meet people and go for what they suggest, if you stay in 5 star’ hotels or if you choose to delve into local families houses, it all characterizes the way you travel.

Well, the inspiration for this post came from the date of today. One year ago, I drove from my town to Lisbon airport and took a flight with final destination in India. I am still trying to figure out my emotions and thoughts on the moment I was on that plane. Believe me or not, I didn’t have anything booked or anyone waiting for me. I had in mind a place where I could maybe do some volunteering in one of Goa beaches, but it didn’t happen so I was thrown on the streets of Arambol, at night, on my own, with my backpack and a warm hearted, though very vulnerable.

I never had a plan or a very clear idea on my mind of where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do and see or which kind of people would I like to be surrounded by. I only knew I wanted to challenge myself to the point that I could know more deeply about myself, and this would be possible through the immersion in such a rich reality like India, with its particularities, its people, its smell, its culture, its turmoil, its goodness, its badness, its everything all at once, like a big fair full of all kinds of colours, thing and stimulus.

I had no return ticket and I didn’t have a fix plan of when would I like to come back afterwards. I ended up travelling for eight months, nothing when compared to the friends I met along the way (3 and 4 years, sometimes), but the intensity of it was such that I am still processing it all. After 5 months in India, I went to Nepal, then Thailand and, finally, Sri Lanka. From Sri Lanka I went straight home, for surprise of all my friends and family (I didn’t say to anyone), and here I am, experiencing a very big transformation which, at some measure is not only made of positive things. There is lots of uncertainty and inner turmoil, too.

In summary, I lived in community, was inside an Indian train for 36 hours, wandered the streets of Varanasi, experienced a deprivation sensorial tank, studied one month of Ayurveda Indian medicine, went for a Buddhist course in the North region of Dharamsala led in silence for ten days, completed a 10 days course Vipassana meditation, lived amidst the nuns on a monastery, got stuck on a guest house with a water poisoning, travelled through the majestic Nepalese hills in the peak of monsoon, tried all kinds of Thai food and massage and lived with a Sri Lanka/ French family for a month, by Mirissa beach.

Here and now, four months after the day I got back, I would like to share some of my thoughts on travelling for a long-term.

PROS:

  • We get to know about ourselves deeply and we learn how to be disembarrassed no matter what

  • We have the opportunity to do a reset of the life situations we left behind

  • We get use to live with a backpack with only a few items inside

  • We give value to the comfort of our lives left behind

  • We only nurture positive feelings for the ones we thought maybe having a trouble

  • We experiment an immense, unconditional love for our family and friends

  • We face death as an actual consequence of life

  • We get to know our limitations and most needs

  • We forget about shit that just doesn’t matter anymore

  • We learn to speak different languages

  • Our sense of orientation gets better and better

  • Our sensitiveness becomes sharper

  • We know part of the real story behind the newspapers, TV and books

CONS:

  • We lose contact with our own environment

  • We quit things that could maybe be good possibilities

  • We create a gap between our life ‘before’ and our life ‘after’

  • We are no longer the same person and it’s hard for people to understand that

  • Our interests might change and our priorities are different

  • We force ourselves too much, trying to adapt the challenges

  • We lose weight, get dehydrated and in some cases we get some infections

  • People get use to our absence and they organize their lives according to that

  • We feel empty and confused

  • We get so honest with ourselves we cannot pretend things anymore or do things that doesn’t fulfil us fully

  • We keep on thinking that travelling is what makes us alive and so is always hard to commit and live a ‘conventional’ life.

 

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