When I say I want to travel, I don’t mean I want to stay at resorts and go on tours with pre-programmed tour guides or buy key chains from souvenir shops.
I don’t want to be a tourist. When I say I want to travel I mean I want to explore another country and be part of it. I want to touch a country’s soul and be a better person for it.
I want to discover the streets of Macau – the ones away from the big casinos where real life happens. I want to walk on beaches in Oman with a camel looking over my shoulder, then climb down to the Bimmah sinkhole for a swim. I’ll celebrate the arrival of the season’s newborn animals with Mongolian nomads, and feel free amongst the dunes at Moltsog Els.
I’ll browse the bookstores of England; not the new ones but the old musty ones that remind me of the odour of my grandmother’s basement. I want to hike the rugged edges of the Himalayas again and perhaps give Nepal another chance. What is it like to ride with the gaucho’s in Argentina or the Uruguayan Pampas? Maybe both. I want to know.
The Trans-Siberian Express has a ticket with my name on it for an epic journey from China to Moscow. I want to go during the dead of winter to know firsthand the bitter cold of Siberia. I want to feel Tahiti’s soft white sand beneath my bare feet away from the crowds and contemplate what’s right in the world. Then I want to be amongst the tribes in West Papua immersing into the secretive tribal lives of the Dani people. I want to wear a Koteka during a ceremony.
I want to meet people who are not like me, but people who I can like all the same. Their culture, how they pray and their way of everyday life interest me greatly. I want to see their smiles, listen to their hopes and wonder if what I offer them is anywhere near as valuable as what they give to me. I want to take compelling photographs of places and people I meet. I don’t want a selfie. I want to be a part of their story, not the other way around.
I want my mind to be in constant awe of life on earth and everything that’s in it. I want to see the world with new eyes. I want to look at a map and be able to remember how I was transformed by the places I’ve been to, the remarkable experiences I’ve had, peculiar things I’ve seen, and more importantly, the people I’ve met. The people who changed me. The people who unconditionally took me into their lives as part of their families.
I want to come home and realize that I have not come home whole, but have left a piece of my heart in each place I have been. Part of me is already in many places around the world. I want to leave more.
This, I think, is what is at the heart of adventure and this is why I’ve made my life one.
There is a magic in travel because it can be complex, yet fulfilling. True life unravels throughout a journey and you discover parts of you that you never imagine. There is beauty in discovering new places and cultures. There is also beauty in discovering more about yourself.