I have been on the road for four months now. How do I feel? I feel great. I feel enriched and empowered. It is like going to school every day learning new things. Some of them good, some not so much.
Meeting people in and from different countries have made me aware of how important education and critical thinking is. But also the importance of being curious and open minded. It goes both ways.
It is not only about me as a traveler but also about the people living in which ever country I’m visiting. Yesterday I went for dinner with a friend of mine and he brought one of his friends. After introducing ourselves that person said with a laugh, So, you are on a vacation. Traveling to find your soul. That was a statement and not a question.
Little do we know about our fellow humans. Even less when from different cultures. And of course it is easier to assume things then rather asking questions.
One thing I have learned. You don’t find yourself somewhere on the road in a package. You don’t find yourself at home ready to be used. The only way you become you is by constantly being aware of who you want to be and live accordingly. Therefor traveling has nothing to do with finding anything unles you are open minded and everyday reflect upon the experiences you meet.
One can continue evolving. But never think you are the same person year after year. Even if we don’t want to change, we still do. Nothing stays the same. Everything changes. A very accurate and Buddhistic philosophy.
It is up to me to decide who I want to be.
The second thing I quite often have stumbled upon in discussions is the political climate all around the world. It is of course very closely linked to our basic needs as human beings. Roof over our head, food in our bellies, providing fou our children, paying the rent. We all want that. And then there is human rights. The gender issue is in my opinion included in that. I meet the differences every day. Sometimes very obvious ones, sometimes very subtle. Unfortunately that problem Is not exclusive for the countries I have visited. This attitude comes with co-travellers my age from all around the world. You might think this is something that only happens to me. Sorry, that’s not the case. I have discussed the issue wit other female travelers and unfortunately I am not alone in this.
I have enough material to write a whole book on that topic.
Money doesn’t make you a better person. It just makes your every day life easier. Traveling on a budget is tougher but it also makes you more creative in your traveling. I met this amazing young woman Evita at that shitty hostel in Yangon. She left Europe with 2000 EUR in her bank account and has been traveling for eight months. And she is not stopping. Living and traveling cheap has taken her to places difficult to reach by plane. She always uses local busses and trains not equipped with comfort. On the other hand that has provided her with experiences she couldn’t trade for money. She came to remote places, enjoyed their hospitality and stayed teaching at a school. Putting yourself out of you comfort zone is not always easy but extremely rewarding. If you want to find out who you are, then this is the way to do it.
People who don’t have much are generous and kind. Budget traveling gives you access to those people. The ones that are as curious of you as you are of them. We acknowledge our differences and embrace how alike we are. People who help without calculating how much they will profit or gain.
The bottom line is that meeting people, interacting with people I meet is what makes me stay on the road. Because sometimes it is rough and tough and exhausting. But it has made me appreciate the simple things even more.