Once a year, go some place you have never been before – Dalai Lama
For as long as I can remember, my greatest aspiration has been to travel. In the rare instance when I could concentrate and remain focused, I enjoyed studying and being in a learning environment. However, in most other instances when my mind would wander, I am removed from the confinements of regularity and taken to a place I have never been before. Often triggered by a captivating image or an anecdote from an interesting perspective, nothing motivates me more than the thought of inching a day closer to a new destination.
So when reading this quote for the first time two years ago, I knew I had come across something special. A simple intention, which could lead to endless possibilities – why not? Plus, if the Dalai Lama tells you to travel, you do it.
Fortunately, I have achieved this objective consecutively, and I hope it remains this way for as long as my mind continues to wander. Most recently, I ventured into Europe, exploring the major cities of Germany then took the Nordic route into Copenhagen and Stockholm. It was just over halfway through the year and I still hadn’t been anywhere new, so the time was due and off I went. A fortnight after my 21st birthday, I was in another country on my own, personalising an itinerary for the next 40 days. 14 000 km away from home, I felt incredibly blessed; thankful for the precious people who provide me with infinite support and encourage me to pursue my goals, despite all their concerns for my safety. In all honestly, I am not an academic nor am I career driven, I am experience driven. I do things that keep my mind healthy and my heart content. I may end up with just enough money to get me by another week, but as long as I see new landscapes and tread on unfamiliar soil, I will feel rich. I had a giggle to myself on that plane flying into Munich, it all suddenly became surreal.
Solo travel should scare you, because it requires you to be completely vulnerable, exposed in unfamiliar surroundings. You will go through a roller coaster of emotions, from quiet moments of loneliness to immense bursts of euphoria. It will be exhausting, challenging, exhilarating and yet completely satisfying all throughout different stages of your journey. The freedom of going with your own flow, testing your boundaries when you feel ready and perhaps stepping back when you are not. Have a laugh with weird and wonderful people, some of whom will broaden your mind in ways you never imagined. Of all the experiences that will arise throughout your travels, I believe the most significant thing to remember is that there are no rules. Don’t go by any cliche, to find yourself or to forget the life you are living. Just embrace the present and explore every corner of that brand new city with an open mind and an open heart. The obstacles you face will challenge you, and the individual successes will shape you – you are what you create. Travelling is a hyper stimulation of the senses. The fact that it frightens you, should be the main reason for you to pursue it.
So, cheers to the new year, to future endeavours and unknown destinations.
In 2015, I wish you the luxury of travel. Go as far as your feet will carry you, and as wildly as your mind may lead you. See what has been unseen and feel things you are yet to comprehend. This little planet is, indeed, big, and the adventures it has in store for you are, indeed, grand.
Below you will find snapshots of some of the cities I visited. Detailed posts of individual places coming shortly x