Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The incredible lightness of being

Everytime I call home and talk to mum and dad, I sense that they are really disappointed in me; "why couldn't our son be 'normal' like others?" must be swimming in their heads. I also know for a fact that they are ashamed to tell their friends their son is a wanderer, a bum. My having travelled to over 40 countries, lived in some of them, had experienced that most people only dreamt or read about, etc mean nothing to them. In the beginning, I longed for them to appreciate and recognise what I am doing, I wanted them to be proud of me. But I know that that would never be the case and I had also grown to accept the fact that I will always be the black sheep of the family. And now I carry this title proudly without a tinge of regret nor disappointment. I have come to let go of living up to people's expectations.

A lot of people have said to me that what I am doing is admirable, a lot of them wished they could do it too. In the beginning I used to say to them "Do it! If I can, you can too." But then I realised that we are all different, we find our happiness in very different ways. For some, the freedom on the road could be more of a burden, we were never taught how to deal with such a freedom so most of us are lost when we encounter it. And I guess that's why we sometimes live vicariously through the adventures of others.

In November, I was interviewed almost at the same time by 2 different persons. First was a journalist for a spanish newspaper, El Mundo, whom I met 3 times in our journeys through South America.
http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2009/11/29/sudamerica/1259503623.html (in spanish)

Second was by a very good friend who has started his own website for independent-minded travellers.

Both articles are now published and I have had my *insert apropriate number of minute* of fame. And I think and hope that both are being recieved positively, maybe through these others can live vicariously through me. But hopefully they inspire them to think and reexam their life. To stop saying "I wish I could do that," instead really take the first step in a following their dreams, like I did 6 years ago.

When I was leaving home, I had a long conversation with one of my then good friend. He told me that he dreamt of leaving a legacy behind when he dies, however "nothing is so common as the wish to be remarkable." I only dream of having as much experience I can get out of this life as possible and leave as lightly as I have arrived. From dust I came and to dust I shall return.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Going from nowhere to nowhere

16 months ago when I bought a one way ticket from Madrid, Spain to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, I didn't expect to be in this continent for a long time, actually I didn't really expect anything, just wanted to leave and go with the flow and see where the road would lead me. But to be honest, in the first few months, I was thinking that it would just be another one of those trips that I did, 2 to 3 months on the road and then go back to Spain.

But one step at a time, one country after another, and now 1 year-4 months and 6 countries later, I find myself still wandering in this continent. And the end is not in sight. Quite to the contrary, I am thinking of staying here for a while.

I never thought that I could travel almost non stop for this long a period. I had always thought that my limit was 4 months top. But this 16 months have prove to me that limits are there to be overcome. Although being on the road for this long has its physical, emotional and mental tolls, it is through understanding and overcoming my limits and being in an uncomfortable state that I can begin to learn about myself; the not so nice side of myself, my imperfections. And then learn to embrace me for me, in all my goodness and imperfections. And when I can truly do that, then I am truly free.

While trekking through the pristine landscape of Torres del Paine in Chile, I explored my physical limit in terms of endurance to cold and tough conditions. And while hitch-hiking up the Carretera Austral, Chile, it was a test of solitude. I have never felt so alone, there were a few times where I was left in a crossroad where there was no sign of any human being, nor their settlement. I felt I was the only person in the world. Also at that time I was going through a very difficult period emotionally. I was feeling extremely lonely. I thought that I was ok being alone and not having friends by my side at all times, I thought that I was stronger in my emotional state, but again I was brought down to see that I should never take anything for granted. I still have a lot to learn about solitude.

This year has been a year of many self discovery. I learnt again the neccesity of deconstructing my identity. No matter how much I have grown to like or habitate in one, I cannot deny the fact that change is the only constant in life. And to evolve with change is the only way I can keep my sanity and this fleeting sense of contentment and happiness that we all long for.

Now that I have chosen to settle in Colombia for a while. I have to start from zero again. Looking for work, house and friends. The novelty of being in a new place and starting a new is wearing off. It is a vicious cycle that I want to jump out of, but the question is into what? What's on offer in the society I want no part in. So then what? What's the alternative? What are the options? To go back to a society that I don't believe in and a life that's identical to everyone else? I rather enjoy this current melancholy limbo.