These days, travelling is not as challenging as it used to be, at least according to all the stories I hear from previous generations and assuming
that our mobile phones represent a Big Revolution on how we experience our travels. Also, we tend to follow that which is already mapped or that which was already told/ captured by an Instagramer or a blogger. But the number of people taking sabbatical periods for setting off in long journeys and life-changing experiences is increasing immensely.
No matter how your travel profile is, you will probably be identified with most of the signs of ‘travel awakening’. May your desire be to buy the next flight or to plan your next travel adventure. So, what is it that we experience?
- WE REALIZE THAT IMPORTANT THINGS ARE NO LONGER THINGS
Carrying a 6 kilo 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 from material things. But way more important: what will often make us feel complete and connected is nothing but people, experiences, acts, sensations and energies 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 keep track of the money we spend (long term travels are always a minus signal in our accounts and not the opposite), but we also see ourselves running out of important things if we don’t manage them well: water, food, medicine, electricity and even our energy and physical capacities. Do you remember how is it to simply brush your teeth or wash 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 appreciate these little things that we only give value when our home is this little point far in the horizon line. And how important that is.
- WE OPEN OURSELVES TO PEOPLE AND EXPERIENCES
There’s nothing else better if we want to live our experiences to the fullest, specially 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 – our inherited family. Fair enough.
I came up directly from my mom’s womb, then my dad grabbed me making his hand being my very first warm experience, and when they took me home I looked at this 2 years old baby, with her big blue eyes staring at me and I think that was the very first time I felt the joy of 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 – the amazing souls, like-minded people, vibrant energy, good advises, 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 WELCOME WHAT COMES AROUND
“Oh, I wanted that way”. “Shit, I wasn’t expecting this to happen to my car now”. “I never thought he would react that way with me”. How often do we get surprised with things that happen daily in our lives? We constantly do, right? But it becomes a different story when we are travelling and the only certainty we have is being uncertainty. To be vulnerable, patient, well-rounded is to be ready to make a change and to pay more attention to what happens to us when we are not in our comfort zones. So, we learn how to let things go out of our control, and that can have a powerful impact in the transformation process.
- WE LEARN HOW TO SAY NO TO OTHERS AND A VERY POSITIVE YES TO OURSELVES
If, on one hand, we replace fear, negativity and low self esteem for a bold «Yes, I can», on the other hand, we don’t care about what others will be thinking if what is on the table is our self-respect. Who cares if you are not jumping to that motorcycle without the helmet just because you felt you shouldn’t, even if you ended up missing the opportunity of getting closer to that person that awakened your interest? And what does it matter if someone thinks you are not cool just because you didn’t go for a vodka on that Wednesday night? Being good for ourselves is automatically improving the aura around us.
- WE REPLACE OLD HABITS AND TRANSFORM OUR OLD PATTERNS
The dark chocolate after meals; the beer mode afternoons; the three coffees a day; the parties until 4 am in the morning; but also 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 intensity of the different spices on our 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 journey are what empower us and keep us alive.
- WE ARE AWARE THAT NOTHING CAN BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED. NOT EVEN OUR LIVES.
This one thing I am referring to should be considered at all times, as a very meaningful and solid truth: 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 that was checking in the flights, at 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, 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 fell into my shoulder, making me jump and take all my clothes off. I think that is quite normal where I am, but I was caught by surprise. And now it felt right turning the other way around in bed, placing my pillow where my dirty feet used to be, so that I can control the situation. And it just made me laugh.
By Margarida Pimenta