In Search of Adventure, Romance and Enlightenment

Why We Travel

The Excitement

The most thrilling experiences are when you first arrive in a new country, especially if the country is so different from yours. Pico Iyer would call it “The Shock of Arrival”. For me was “Rush Hour in Kathmandu”.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

Why We Travel: the Excitement

Kathmandu, Nepal

The Discovery

The sights, the sounds, the smells – what makes a place different from others?

Cities: the craziness of Tokyo, the tranquility of Luang Prabang, the 50’s feeling of Havana.

History: the temples of Thailand, the palaces of India, the Great Wall of China, the Angkor Wat.

Architecture: the modernism of Japan, the skyscrapers of New York, the Gaudi’s Barcelona.

Nature: the heights of Himalayas, the wilderness of Carpathians, the slow-moving life on the Mekong, the solitude of Okinawa beaches.

People: the smile of Thais, the faithful Tibetans, the friendliness of Romanians, the politeness of Japanese, the cultural diversity of Canadians.

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark

Why We Travel: the Discovery

Oasis 21, Nagoya, Japan

The Adventure

Facing dangers and challenges is part of the journey. Getting lost in unknown places or lost in translation happens all the time. I almost drowned in South China Sea, had a motorbike accident on the island of Koh Chang, got hurt by firecrackers in Varanasi, gasped for oxygen in Himalaya, fell into a ravine in the Carpathians, stranded in Havana with no cash, robbed in Bangkok and got sick many times.

“Everything that kills me, makes me feel alive.” – Counting Stars, OneRepublic

Why We Travel: the Adventure

Varanasi, India

Escaping from Our Lives

Sometimes we need to escape from our lives, sometimes we need to escape from the past. We want to break out from routine, to challenge the rules, perceptions and misconceptions of our society.

“We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope.” – Edward Abbey

Why We Travel: the Escape

Iriomote Jima, Okinawa, Japan

Searching for Enlightenment

According to Buddhism, we have a Past, a Present and a Future life, and our actions influence our Present and Future lives. Perhaps the most spiritual place in the world to find enlightenment is Tibet. It is one in a lifetime journey that must be taken.

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” – Dalai Lama

Why We Travel: the Enlightenment

Sera Monastery, Tibet

Finding Love

What if you find love in another country? How far would you go? The farthest I went in my romantic quest was 40 hours flight from Bangkok to Banjul, in West Africa, with stops in Cairo and Lagos.

“The story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye.” – Jimi Hendrix

Why We Travel: the Love

Finding Love

Meeting New People

When you travel, meeting new people is easy. One question “Where do you come from?” and a smile are enough to start a conversation. People are friendly everywhere, even if they don’t show it. Meet some of my travel buddies!

“A journey is best measured in friends, not in miles.” – Tim Cahill

Why We Travel: the People

Happy Smiles from India

Learning New Things

Attending a tea ceremony in Japan, learning basic Japanese or learning how to roll a cigar in Cuba are unique experiences and fun. I learnt photography by doing it while travelling.

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” – Dorothea Lange

Why We Travel: the Learning

Sensōji Temple, Tokyo

Trying New Things

Such as: skydiving in Toronto, weed in Amsterdam, cigars in Cuba, onsen and ryokan in Japan, fish massage in Chiang Mai, riding a camel in Tunisia and a motorbike in Thailand.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste it, to experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Why We Travel: the Experience

Amsterdam Coffee Shop

Eating New Food, Enjoying New Drinks

And being adventurous about: snake soup in Taiwan, crocodile meat in Cuba, frogs in Vietnam, puffer fish in Japan, goat brains in India, tortoise soup in Hong Kong. Never the less, the drinks are enchanting too: snake wine and palm beer in Cambodia, hot beer in Kathmandu, home-made “roxy” in Pokhara, “aomori” in Okinawa, yak butter tea in Tibet, bitter melon beer in China.

“A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou.” – Omar Khayyam

Why We Travel: the Food

Frog Legs, Hanoi, Vietnam

Memories

In the end all you have are memories. Make them beautiful, so you have stories to say and photos to show.

“It’s sad to know I’m done. But looking back, I’ve got a lot of great memories.” –  Bonnie Blair

Why We Travel: the Memories

Ryōan-ji Temple Zen Garden, Kyoto

Travel Philosophy

“Me: Where are we here?

Traveller: I don’t know.

Me: Where are you going?

Traveller: Nowhere.

Me: Let’s go nowhere!” – Ovi

Why we travel? Why do you travel?

 

5 Comments on “In Search of Adventure, Romance and Enlightenment

  1. An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  2. In The Mythical Quest you will find stories depicted in works that reflect the fascination over four thousand years with the search for true love, everlasting glory and spiritual enlightenment.

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