When traveling for a longer period of time and through different countries it is obvious that you will meet a lot of people and different cultures. There is a big differences in the use of gestures, body language, sounds made to get someones attention, how you greet or ways of showing respect . Sometimes it is connected to religion and sometimes it is strictly cultural. This is one of the most interesting things with traveling. Seeing the differences and deciphering them. Understand what they mean and because of that having the privilege of beeing a participant more than a spectator.
People. People in my life. Old friends, new friends, people I will never forget but probably never meet again, some I wish I could forget and hopefully never meet again, some will stay in my heart others will be the best thing ever happened to me because I learned from them.
Like this 84 year old Scottish lady I met in Pushkar, India. She has for the past 20 something years traveled the same rout in India for six months a year. First I was thinking that must be boring, going to places she had already seen. But then I realised she had not only made friends along the way, she had gained families. People she loves and cares for and they love and care for her to. Her prime purpose of traveling started out as escaping the Scottish winter but it became so much more. She showed me the result of kindness and compassion. But also the importance of knowing who you are. When you do know, then no one can hurt you. She also told me you have to tell people around you what you want otherwise you will never get it.
The 35 year old man working as a guide in Kolkata. He is a very kind person, always helping others. Family, friends, strangers. Even though he is poor, struggling to make ends meet he always gives a helping hand or gives a beggar his last money. We talked about his life and if he had any thoughts on how to change it, make it better. It turned out he can’t read and write. So I offer to pay for him to go to school and learn how to. He said he doesn’t want to go to school. I learned that you can’t have a change in your life unless you put some effort in doing something. At least trying.
I’ve also learned to be more compassionate. Confronting peoples anger or fear with compassion doesn’t make their frustration stick to me and it takes the edge off their feelings. Compassion and kindness always pays off.
Love can be expressed in so many different ways. I have learned that words are of no consequence if the action is missing. Action is worth more than million words. I knew that before I left Sweden but it has been clarified to me. Emphasised. I’ve seen it both in old and new friends.
Friendship, relationships and love evolves. Nothing stays the same. Thinking otherwise is an illusion. Doesn’t mean it’s easy facing changes. Bad can transform into good. Good into bad. But good can also become better. That’s how it goes. The only thing we can do is to be present when the good is going on. Stay focused on what is inportant when the bad comes. And the most important thing, try to do the best out of what ever is given to you. If something is good stay, if it is bad then leave or make a change.
I’ve traveled for five months straight. Now I have given myself some time to reflect. In our fast and furious society we to often forget to push the pause button. What does quality in life include. Is it having more and bigger or is it being grateful for the good we experience.