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
The sights, the sounds, the smells – what makes a place different from others?
Architecture: the modernism of Japan, the skyscrapers of New York, the Gaudi’s Barcelona.
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
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
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
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
“The story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye.” – Jimi Hendrix
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
“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” – Dorothea Lange
“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
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
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
“Me: Where are we here?
Traveller: I don’t know.
Me: Where are you going?
Me: Let’s go nowhere!” – Ovi
Why we travel? Why do you travel?