Why are we on the move all the time? What is it about traveling that appeals to us so much? Is a trace of some instinct from ancient nomadic lives, or are we just itching to get some sun?


photo credit to Sarolta Ban

Emerson once said that traveling is a fool’s paradise. And I agree. It’s not all smiles, sunshine and happy music playing in the background. Mostly, it is though, but as in all things, there’s two sides to each experience, and traveling definitely has it’s double-edged sword moment. It can show you marvelous places and make you feel new and beautiful emotions, but it comes at a price, life gives and takes. One day we live to smile, the next, to frown. So we must be willing to accept this and set out on the road keeping in mind that everything can happen and it will happen, the good and the bad. At the end of the day we always, almost always, look back at the less happy instances and laugh, so don’t worry.

Fools run off with their bags looking for heaven, this makes all the more sense when you know that heaven is within. If you search for something you cannot perceive within you, you’ll be looking for a long time. Try not to escape, but to merge and unite.

While everyone has their reasons, I think that there are a few key factors that we all have in common, that push us to pack our shit and head off.

We’re looking for something. We’ve seen what we can see where we’ve lived up until now and want, need to know what’s on the other side, is the grass really greener over there? Do the people smile differently? Who am I underneath all that I’ve been told I am?
We really are a curious kind, and there’s something that keeps us day-dreaming about all the experiences we can have. I mean, we travel in our minds when our immediate physical environment doesn’t permit it!

So what is it?

It’s the Mystery!

”The world is incomprehensible. We won’t ever understand it; we won’t ever unravel it’s secrets. Thus we must treat the world as it is: a sheer mystery.” Carlos Castaneda

All of life is one big mystery, one that we may never solve, but just keep being amazed and awe-struck by it, if you are truly alive you will be held in rapture by all that around you. So you want to keep moving forward and learning, seeing for yourself if the people in such-and-such country are what everyone back home has been saying about them.

Having spent most of my life moving around, and being the outsider wherever I went, I never really managed to fit in. I used to worry about it, but one day I stopped giving a shit and felt happy right away. I appreciate the fact that it doesn’t interest me, there is no appeal to fit in, be it a crowd, a suit or an office cubicle. And the same goes for ”free-thinking” communities. The moment you find yourself in a group, you will have to agree upon someone else’s ideals and perceptions for it to function, and that means losing your individuality.
I’ve learned that I only wish to fit into my own skin, and into the embrace of those I love. Don’t tell me where I belong, the only law that can be sacred to me is that of my own nature. And when I travel, I meet it all the more. Knock off the chains of group-think and conformity, find your freedom and be prepared for the journey at hand.

Thanks largely to westernized lifestyles, we are constantly told by our parents, teachers, friends and governments what to think and how to act towards the ”outside”. Even now as I’m writing this, it’s pissing me off to see to which extent it goes. And the damage it has caused and continues on to do so. Division after endless division.
Modern culture is poison. Don’t get me wrong, it holds a few nice and pretty traditional things, but to the most part, nationalism and culture limit your human potential, they stunt your growth through conditioning.
Traveling helps to clean your subconscious of all the indoctrinated lies stuffed down our minds since we’re born.

The more you see, the more you see through the lies and false images. You learn that we all share in this beautiful existence, that we’re all in this together. You see through an other’s eyes and beliefs. If a complete stranger in Asia can offer you food and a place to sleep out of his heart-felt benevolence, why doesn’t your neighbour ever say hello to you back home? Maybe we’re not as right as we’ve been told we are. When you’re on the move you begin to see that none of us really know what we’re doing, but we’re all trying our best at happiness. What works for one, doesn’t necessarily work for another. But we show respect and with that, we listen and learn. We grow.

When we’re on the move we have to pay attention. The changing environment and situations ask us to focus on the moment at hand. So we find ourselves in the present. And that’s where we should be living, not in the past of the future, but right now. In a way it is easier to do this when you’ve left your comfort zone. That’s another place you don’t really want to find yourself in, comfort makes us lazy and slows our growth. At times it is necessary, at least the bare basics, so you can take a little break and think things over.

Why must we think things over?
There’s the after-effect.

A friend and I were once talking about how will it be to go back home after months away.
He summed it up perfectly – either nothing, or everything will change. And usually, it’s the latter. When you travel, you knock off bits of the micro-culture within you. You do this, time and time again, but later, you must slow down to be able to make sense of who you are at this moment. And who you are not anymore. Sometimes it’s easy to do, but other times the distance between who you were and who you are, is so far apart, it takes time to catch up. That is when patience and introspection is needed. Don’t forget to do this. You must make the time to meet yourself over and over again. Else you lose yourself, while trying to do the exact opposite. You’ll have days where you feel as if you’re losing your mind, you are, and in place, you’ll find your heart.

There will be times, places and people that will leave their own imprints. And you will miss them, there will be days when the grief of absence is so heavy, that all you would like to do is disappear, until it has passed, but where can you disappear to? The emotions are from within, so deal with them, they are telling you something very important, listen closely and understand. Your heart will keep breaking and breaking, and as it does, more and more light will shine through.
Our hearts are the all-powerful songs of Shiva’s drumbeats! And so it plays it’s rhythm, more and more true and in tune with the world as you move. You feel clean inside and you smile! Throw yourself into the abyss and fly, you’ll find that red bull doesn’t give you wings, it’s the heart! The seat of the soul.

For nothing is ever truly lost, sometimes it hurts to understand that certain people are becoming mere memories resting in your heart and mind. It feels wrong and unjust that that is their fate in your life. But so it is. You learn that to dis-attach does not mean you love less.
All of life is such, and you cannot expect to just take and take openly what comes your way, without being prepared to let go. It is the duality of things, two sides to the same coin.

The Earth is round after all, so you’re bound to return, to meet again, to taste that dodgy sandwich at a Laos bus stop once more. Or maybe once was enough. You can never know. We’re not psychic so why try and predict? Why try and control the flow?

“Nothing in this world is a gift. Whatever must be learned must be learned the hard way.”

-Carlos Castaneda

You move with the flow and even though most of the time we’ve got no clue what it is we’re really looking for, we’re looking, and so we shall find.

We find honest and beautiful people, we learn of their world views, how they see things, what makes them smile, laugh and angry. We’re presented with experiences that baffle and humble us. It’s…life.

Traveling has become much more accessible worldwide and each new generation is already living much more on a global scale, internet has it’s hand in it all. Things have changed from our parents’ generation and we are moving along the current. Some travel to collect stamps, some to re-learn and other’s to find new opportunities towards a better life.

And meaning no offence to all the information found online (there is a useful amount of it), but screw trip advisor and the crew. How much better does it feel to find a beautiful spot, having learned of it by word of mouth? The effort and persistence you’ve had to put in to get there will leave you feeling much happier than just googling a picture and location. Simply to get there, take the same exact picture, from the same exact spot, then to tag it on facebook. Makes you think of a dog peeing on something. Don’t do it. Don’t travel to just show people where you’ve been and how ”happy” you are besides a hotel pool or petting a completely drugged up tiger. That’s check-listing experiences in hopes that it will bring you joy. It won’t. Do it for yourself and screw the rest. Share some, but don’t throw it in everyone’s faces.There have been too many experiences that have been borderline pure magic, that google and money would never have delivered, for it is the spontaneous that brings us life. We are ourselves, so don’t try and control it, let go or just be dragged along.

Life’s a goddamn trip, so pack your bags and move!

To sum it all up, traveling is beautiful and necessary. Either as a vacational get-away, or lifestyle. The lessons keep coming, the heart keeps beating stronger and you see how much love is all around us. It’s breath-taking. Have the courage to follow what you believe to be right for you. It doesn’t have to traveling if you don’t feel it is!

As for me it has helped immensely, much more than staying on spot, and I hope this has helped you in some way. Do not fear the unknown, you just haven’t met it yet.

Written by Mikelis Dobrajs
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