Our first and last editorial for 2013
A serious blogger these days would try to wrap up their experiences, write about the best countries they visited, post their most beautiful pictures, or gather the most useful tips of 2013. Fortunately, when thinking about 2013, the only thing my troublesome mind can come up with is a list of questions and doubts. And I say fortunately, because doubts and questions are a healthy sign of thinking-which not many people chose to do today- and is a part of a hard procedure called change.
My main question was raised for the first time during a ride with a bus towards the airport at 4:00 am. I hate morning flights but I have to admit that carrying your luggage and your tired body around so early in the morning makes you see things from another point of view. I was looking all those people at the airport and I was wondering: Why are we travelling? But this question was not interesting enough. I started thinking of people who were living 100 years ago. These were the real travelers. They had to cover miles with a single pair of shoes for days, months or even years. They had to say real goodbyes, goodbyes that were carrying the burden of the possibility that they might never see someone or something again. They were the real explorers, for they were facing things they never saw in their lives, not on the television, nor on a high definition video on youtube. They were REAL. So what are we doing? Are we just wandering around, thinking we are doing something useful and posting arrogant pictures to show to people how much fun they are missing and how cool we are?
Let’s be honest, traveling or being a “nomad” is not a hard thing to do today. In the beginning, I though that by travelling I am in some way going against a system that is only asking me to stop thinking and consume more. I thought that it is a revolutionary way of life. Today I know that it might be a useful step towards such a life, but it is definitely not it.
The last four years I bought seven bikes, and I rode several more. I payed and slept in approximately 50 beds-which is nothing compared to other travelers who don’t settle down in places for at least 3 months like me. I payed a fortune in airplane, train and bus tickets and offered countless molecules of CO2 to our atmosphere, as if it didn’t have enough anyway. Lastly, falling sort of a normal kitchen very often, I ate several times junk food of unknown origin and quality, consuming meat of animals that were probably mistreated and vegetables whose pesticides are probably the reason a nearby lake or coastal area is being destroyed. And these did I, a mindful and careful traveler, who wants to respect the land, nature and people on this planet.
Don’t get me wrong, I love travelling. I love it because it makes me vulnerable. It makes me open my heart to people and trust them, give them a chance to open their hearts to me. It makes me open my eyes and ears and learn from local people, from local culture and history, from every situation. It gives me hope that there are people out there with kindness and dignity, people who are trying to change the world. But it’s them who are changing the world, not me. And without them, travelling is nothing. We need to respect people who chose to settle down. We need to support people who try to keep their traditions, their language, their land and their way of life. And we should not respect all that as a spectacle or a folklore element that every traveler should see, but as a way of life to get inspired from. Without them, there’s nothing to learn.
I’m not saying we should stop travelling. Being aware of all the ideas expressed above, we should try to respect the world more. Try to use our hands and legs more, our pocket less. And that’s my first goal for 2014. But most importantly, I want to keep living this way of life only until I am ready to settle down myself, create a life as I want it and start travelling in my own language, my own culture and my own land. Cause right now, it’s them who are changing the world, not me.