One year of traveling – Time to rethink why we are doing this trip
Currently in Laos and one year of traveling behind us, this morning Klaus and I talked about what we would like to do now, if the other would suddenly no longer be there. If we had to decide each for itself how it goes on. Klaus would rather move into a permanent apartment, spend the working days in the office programming with his colleagues and the days of hiking, perhaps in the Ahr valley. He would perhaps go back to Berlin or to Bonn, to his friends from life before our travels, before Berlin.
And me? I’d grab my folding bike and camera and explore the world. Certainly rather the easier countries, staying in Europe. Or maybe Norway?
Luckily, this is all hypothetical and we’re traveling together. So it’s just right for both of us.
Only at the different ideas for a time alone one can already suspect that there can be no uniform answer to the question “why we make this journey”.
But we both look back together on a crazy year. Mixed feelings and places for transitions. Of course we changed and we do it every day. Of course it happens to everyone, but on a journey like this, sometimes change seems to happen with a heavy thud. Suddenly you feel clearly: something has changed.
Courage & Fear
Often we hear that we are so courageous to dare such a journey, such an exit.
For me, courageous are people who risk their lives for something or put themselves in great danger for a good cause. But there is no need to be afraid of quitting, because your life does not depend on it. There are plenty of (temporary) jobs to keep you afloat if the worst comes to the worst, and if the search for an apartment in the big city fails, the suburbs may have their charms.
Fear of change, out of place on a trip like this. Of course I had it, but it was also worth dealing with, wondering what could happen in the worst case, what the odds are, and how I can change it.
Exiting teaches two things in particular: 1.) All the previous fears, worries and concerns did not come true, so I could have saved myself all that head-scratching. I could not have foreseen all the challenges that actually arose. 2) When you have little, you can lose little.
I decide how much room I give to fear. Fear has its justification, but it also constricts us and kills passion and creativity. Therefore, allow yes, usually give in no.
In these stupas, at a temple near Pakse, you can see all the remains of our humanity. There is not really much left of us. So why not live life now? What to wait for?
Self-esteem – the most important work on oneself
If someone were to ask me today what is the most important thing for a good life, I might answer “A strong sense of self-esteem.“ Not to be confused with self-confidence, because a confident demeanor is not very difficult to have and to learn. Really good self-esteem, on the other hand, is something very few people have. You are never good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, slim enough, trendy enough, perfect enough compared to others, and it affects every single second of your life.
But it is now up to me that not situations shape me, but that I shape them. That I live the way I want to. There is no such thing as “fate”. It is my decision to react to situations and to change them if I don’t like the situation.
But it takes time to learn to stop judging yourself for everything, to accept your body, to let criticism bounce off you and to be content without status symbols. But this path is more worth it than anything else in my opinion!
The point I’m probably trying to work on the most. To transform anger, intolerance towards others into empathy. This may sound ironic, but what good does it do me when a truck almost honks me off the road again and I get angry too. I have then lost 2 times. Instead, I make room, ring with our wonderful Spurcycle bell a little “against” (the sound of this bell is almost like that of a singing bowl), try, if possible even to bring a smile to the driver and continue. Just don’t give any room to anger.
How poor people are who rant against others on the net full of hate. I am sorry that they carry this negative energy around with them.
To deal with an unimagined amount of love and compassion is definitely a challenge, because for me , I still can’t explain that I used to eat sentient beings. On the other hand, I am increasingly disturbed by arrogance and ignorance and there it inevitably needs a valve to be able to discharge the anger again.
So there’s a lot more that can be done, even with me.
What do you think? If you saw such a snake, a rather poisonous one, lying dead on the road, run over by a car, the perfect beautiful body broken, crushed, would you feel empathy? If this would be a dog or cat, 100% you would. Right next to the snake was another small animal with wings. Probably the snake was hunting herself when getting killed by the car. What should be the difference between humans and the snake? We could be able to feel empathy.
The long journey happens in the head
I of all people say that. I know.
But now I am also a photographer and the pictures at home are not enough for me personally. Even if I can not, must not and will not capture every image with the camera, I still want to see it… our world with so many infinitely beautiful sides.
That is the reason for my enthusiasm for traveling by bicycle. And the time it takes gives me the space for thoughts to work on fear as well as self-esteem and empathy.
One year of traveling
Different feelings and many places for change we have been through and driven through. We lived and felt joy and these experiences will stay forever. We needed longing and different feelings to be ready to continue discovering and facing the unknown, to continue “growing”. Closing stages. Opening new ones. 13 countries we have traveled through, 12 borders we have crossed. One year of traveling.
And why travel together, even if the reasons can be very different, it’s just wonderful to share all that. The responsibility, the thoughts, the fear, the challenge, the experiences. We have so much to laugh about. Some situations are just wonderfully absurd. But we can also rant together, cry together, be quiet together. We are a team and not lone warriors. That makes this journey so much more successful. One year of traveling together with the best man I could find, teaches me a couple things.
To enjoy the little ones, not to be so strict with myself, helps to stick to some important routines, how important brakes are 😉 and so much more. Then it is time to speed up, to maybe leave the town to reach the next and to see, what the next day will bring up. I don’t need to be afraid of it because Klaus is with me.
– One year of traveling is almost over. The second year approaches –