How many of you here wished they traveled more? Raise your hands if you are one of them.
I bet there are many of you that would love to explore the world but are somehow anchored down by invisible chains.
So here goes:
Day 10. Write the autobiography of the life you weren’t brave enough to lead.
The life I wish I lived? Traveling the world and seeing and experiencing everything there possibly is.
So why haven’t I?
Do you want to know my reasons for not traveling as much as I dream of?
I could say many things. I could say my family lives here and they would miss me and I would miss them. I could say my friends are here and I don’t want to be separated from them. I could say I don’t have the money or means to travel. I could say I still have time.
I could say many things.
But only one of them is really true.
I am scared.
Scared that my family won’t approve. Scared that my friends will forget me. Scared that it won’t be as great as I hoped. Scared that I won’t have a place to return to. Scared that it will make me feel even lonelier than I feel now. Scared that I will lose everything I have.
And most of all: scared that I will love it so much, it will become like a drug and I will wander the earth until it runs out of time. Until I run out of time.
So instead, I dream.
I dream about hacking through the jungles of Vietnam with a machete in my right hand while I wipe the sweat off my forehead with my left. With a heavy, army-style backpack that is digging into my shoulders and ugly slippers that give stray snakes free access to my toes if they felt like it. And with every step, I would connect more and more with mother nature as she seeps into my very being every time I breathe, every time I feel, every time I touch the ground, a tree, a plant, an animal, a human.
I dream about living on a boat with a couple of close friends. Yeah, sure, there will be fighting over our daily chores and our duties, but when the sea bellows and the waves crash against the sides, we grow quiet. We would hang out on the deck where the sun has unprotected access to our backs and we can taste the saltiness of the sea on our skins. There will be midnight swimming when we are in the calmer bays and praying to God when the sea is angry and threatens to throw us overboard. And most of all, we will be free to go wherever we want to go. Free to do whatever we want to do. Free to be whoever we want to be.
I dream about selling all my possessions until I can carry everything I own on my back. And then just taking off to a quiet place in the mountains to join a group of monks that have been training their whole lives to find meaning and peace in their own hearts. I would sit on hard, cold floors and drink out of rusty cups, but I would find a quietness inside of me that I have never experienced. I would watch mountains stand proud under the unrelenting winds and slowly discover a steadiness and sturdiness inside myself that could make those mountains bow down. Inner peace for my soul.
I dream about getting myself a small van that I would turn into a tiny flat on wheels and just scour this planet. My eyes would look at everything there is to see in this world and my fingers would tell the stories I come across. There will be scuba diving in Indonesia to watch our coral reefs disappear and night time fly fishing to test my patience. Wine tasting under the Italian sun and buffets of strange delicacies in China. Visiting the last settlements of Inuits before the polar caps melt and gazing upon the Northern Lights from Finland. Running with the bulls in Spain and watching the first Sakura tree bloom in Japan.
I dream about making friends all over this earth. People with all kinds of spirits and ideas, regardless of age, gender, colour, race, beliefs, … People that you keep in your heart and take with you wherever you go.
I would meet children in Africa that teach me the simple pleasures in life. I would find friends in Italy that teach me how to enjoy good company and good food. There will be fiercely passionate nights in Greece that teach me the true meaning of love and I will find real companionship as I travel along the old roads of forgotten worlds.
And as I travel, my body will become older, my spirit will become kinder and my soul will become wiser. And yet, I will become ageless and timeless.
With every new place I see, I will bind myself more to this earth, yet I will be freed from it.
And when I come to perish, I will live on in everything I did and everything I saw. Everyone I met and everyone I loved. In everyone that loved me.
When the time comes, I won’t disappear from this earth but become one with the planet and everything and everyone that inhabits the same space.
I will be reborn in the memories that I left in the minds and hearts of other people.
Maybe, some day, I can still do all this. Maybe, one day, when I find the courage I need. Maybe, one day, when I stop being afraid.
Advice I wish I had gotten after I graduated high school
My twist on an age old myth