In a way we all travel. We travel through life coming from the past heading to the future. Sometimes we think about where to go, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we take our past with us, sometimes we leave it behind. It’s a foolish thing -a beginner’s mistake you might say- to believe all of this is put on hold when we actually hit the road to go traveling.
I’ve found that physical travel makes us travel through life faster. We usually experience more in less time, we expand our horizont and see the world from different angles. We realise this the second we come home and see nothing has changed – but we have. A feeling most, who have left for a while know only too well.
We set off into the world to learn about others and adapt to different ways of thinking. We’re excited about it. We find ourselves stepping out of our regular patterns, leaving our comfort zone and trying new things that we wouldn’t have imagined at home. Occasionally we even pick up new habits on the road that will stick to us for years to come.
I’ve spent the last few days far away from anything really.* A nice – not paradise, but good enough – beach on a small island in Thailand that can only be reached on a boat. The family, who owns our bungalows speaks little English, but smiles a lot. It’s a good place to stay for a while and explore. There’s sea shells to be found on the beach, the ocean to watch as tide comes in and leaves again. A small island you could walk to during low tide, but I haven’t gotten around to yet. I’ve been busy doing nothing most of the time making decisions as I go. Left or right. Banana pancake or fried rice. Is it time for insect repellent or am I okay to get bitten for just a little while longer. It’s good to slow everything down every now and then.
If you wanted to you could come here and go without talking for days.
It’s the beauty of simplicity and not expecting anything. No expectations from myself and the world around me. An idea I find rather pretty. And yet this leaves a hell lot of time to think. Your thoughts start to wander. It starts with the near past, but those memories are the easiest to fade as time progresses. You move on to think about what you where doing a year ago, maybe two.
Then you start to wonder how you got here and you think about the many things that have gone right. After all you’re in a beautiful place and must have made some pretty good decisions along the way, right? And then you catch yourself wondering about things in the past that left you with a bitter taste, a bad memory – or even worse – an unresolved question. You’re hooked.
For myself time has taught me that I’m the kind of person who wants to understand. I need a story. Life to me seems like a long story, and you better make it a good one. Sometimes the stories come from someone else, sometimes I can figure them out myself. So, what if you can’t figure it out? Some hang on to religion. An almighty god, someone who knows more than you do and pulls the strings. For me it’s the good in people I believe in. Trusting myself on the decisions I’ve made, my roots and friends I’ve chosen. Even the mistakes I’ve made, trusting on the fact that I’ve learned and they’ve taken me forward in life.
„It will all be okay, and if it’s not it’s not the end,“ a cliché saying, but a terribly comforting one. I guess that’s part of traveling too, trusting the future and letting go of the past for a while, because eventually you’ll figure it out. Someday, somehow. It’s the beauty of traveling.
*I wrote this text about two weeks ago, during my Thailand trip.