Lately, I’ve been avoiding writing, and vlogging and many of the creative pursuits that usually bring me such clarity, grounding and joy. I have so much whirling around in my head that every time I sit down to write I can’t seem to put an intelligible sentence together and vlogging…a short thought becomes forty minutes long and rambling.
This has been going on since the summer. Since I started travelling. Perhaps my already chaotic thinking process has devolved with the constant movement. I always seem to be settling in somewhere new.
Going home for two months wasn’t much better. Everything seemed so different. I had changed so much that I just couldn’t go back to the way things had been.
Travel tends to do that to a person. I don’t mean the kind of travel where you stay in a resort and visit the touristy areas – I mean travel, experiencing new places and getting to know the local communities, the local people. This is what it was meant all those years ago when people went to “find themselves”. If you do it right, travel changes the inner core of who you are – it strengthens you and makes you see yourself for who you really are, deep down, the real, raw parts of your being that you tend not to show to anyone, sometimes, not even yourself. You get to know what you’re capable of and what you are not able to do.
There is an old saying – move a muscle, move your mind. Travelling is like that but on steroids. You move around and see things, talk to people, learn new languages or at least a few words in a new language, you see how people live and what their concerns are.
Learning public transit in new places, especially when you don’t speak the language, that is an adventure! Just walking around, trying to find your way when your data plan isn’t working…scary, but doable.
Some people think I’m crazy for doing what I’m doing, some people think I’m amazing – at least that’s what they tell me, but I think the truth lays somewhere in between. It’s one thing to travel, another to travel on your own, and then to do those things while visually impaired…
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there are days when I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Just yesterday I considered turning tail and heading home – but then I remembered why I’m doing all this, why it’s so important for me to see as much as I can, while I still can.
I also think of the many great experiences I’ve already had and the people I’ve had the privilege to meet along the way.
Most recently, seeing Polish fashion at a wonderful design firm in Lodz and learning Indian cooking from my host and new friend Bhavna “Tashu” Jais, an Indian expat.
Meeting, Kuba, an online friend who I was fortunate to meet up with in Warsaw and tour Old Town with. The ladies who hosted me in Warsaw where a gift – so knowledgeable about Kieslowski’s work and the political atmosphere in Poland, I learned so much from them.
Kasia in Lublin and her high energy mother and adorable daughter who made me feel like part of the family.
The two Anna’s in Krakow, each so different and yet so insightful and delightful to spend time with.
Yuri the Ukranian taxi driver who will feature in the book series I’m currently researching. Twenty minutes of absolutely delightful conversation!
My short visit to Kosice, Slovakia where I felt genuinely lonely for the first time in my life. Why? Because I saw something so beautiful, so moving that I desperately wanted someone to share it with but had no one.
Kerri Layton, a wonderfully talented Jazz singer in London was a dream to stay with. We wound up with a mutual friend, Lia, a story I will tell another time because it is so wonderfully odd and funny!!
Hilary and Rebecca, a mother and daughter duo that could inspire the world with the many things they do and the incredible positve energy that flows from them.
Ruth, the South African intrepid traveller who works half the year so that she can travel the other half.
The family I met for the first time and others I hadn’t seen in years. The list goes on and on.
To stop now, to not keep going, I would miss the potential of more of these wonderful experiences. Perhaps that is where the chaos in my mind is really coming from, the anticipation of another adventure and the dread of it at the same time.
How can I record all of these wonderful happenings when they keep happening? How can I communicate how special each one was when I’m in the middle of a new adventure? How do I make sense of it all when it makes no sense to me? How did I get to be so lucky, so blessed?
The world is a wonderful, scary, and beautiful place. It has so much to offer us. I have learned that the people of the world, for the most part, are basically good, caring people.
When I worry about the horrible things that are happening, the violence, the anger, I hold onto the hope that the basic goodness will win out in the end. The basic decency in mankind, the common sense, will rise up and the people will say enough. I suppose much of these musings have to do with my recent tour of Warsaw and I should write about that soon so that you can understand what I am talking about.
Perhaps that is the cure for my chaotic mind, the one that can’t seem to keep my thoughts straight – write more, not less.
I will finish up by saying, if you have the opportunity, I encourage you to travel, to explore the world and everything in it. You will never be the same if you do, and it will help you to see what you are truly made of.