I am a traveller. We are all travellers. It is in our DNA, as generations before us have dedicated their lives to explore planet Earth to find the best places to settle. We are the result of great nomads who fearlessly explored jungles, climbed mountains and crossed seas, just to find a place they can call home. Our ancestors didn’t seek attractions, nor travelled for any other purpose but to discover their real selves. So is this what it really means to be a traveller?
Traditionally, we’ve allowed ourselves to be inspired by others, movies, commercials and magazines. We’ve been eagerly dreaming of the day when we will be travelling, taking selfies and parade our achievements. In the process, we’ve been saving money like crazy, made lists of things to do and forgot to live just so we can buy that precious holiday.
In the end, we start our journey, we are on our way to that ultimate bucket list destination and we can now take those pictures we have been desperately wanting. We finally did it! We’ve achieved our goal. Now what? Has our life changed? Did we feel enriched? I know the answer because, after all this effort, I used to be just as empty as before. I was a tourist. I followed beaten paths just to snap those pictures which everyone already added to their Facebook pages. I sought some secret approval in the form of likes and comments.
One day, I stopped doing all of it. I got tired of the pretence. I booked my next tickets to Japan. I ditched all tourist attractions, got rid of all my plans, bought a new camera, a map and a travel notebook. And so, my real travelling adventure began.
Traveling is not a form of science, I cannot tell you what to do in order to fulfill yourself. But I can tell from experience, it’s a special form of art which requires patience, love and desire.
Today my travelling experiences are different. As I wander around a city, I take my time to truly absorb the atmosphere. I write down what I feel, what I see, what I smell. I try to keep an open mind and always say yes to a new experience. I avoid the crowded destinations and explore those small streets to discover untold secrets. I eat in the small family run restaurants and ask the owners about their way of cooking and real local cuisine. I’m not afraid to seek to do what locals do. My favourite part is capturing a destination’s soul by photographing the details which made me feel something real. As travellers, we must connect with a place and allow ourselves to breathe, sense, love.
If I could offer one advice it would be to freely explore and get lost in your travels. As scary as it was at first, I now know that my best memories happened in the most unforeseen circumstances. And so, I learned to let go and feel free. I decided to have no expectations and respect the natural course of events.
As different as we may be from each other, deep down, we are all travellers. We are all storytellers. Our ancestors survived because others told them stories of which mountainous paths to cross, which seas are calm and which forests are safe. At the core, we are all free-spirited teachers.
In the end, being a traveller means connecting with your surroundings, connecting with other people and staying true to yourself. So let’s discover, let’s venture out and travel the world.
Are you a traveller? Tell me about your experiences as a tourist and as a traveller in the comment section below.