This one is for M,D and S. May you take the jump quickly!
Easy for me to say, OK agreed, while I’m sipping my Belgian beer, seated outside on a little
bench enjoying the sunset in Brussels. But, don’t get me wrong – I’m always making plans to discover more of the world.
The scorching heatwave that’s currently holding us in its grips makes it easy for me to dig up some of my memoires of my own travels. Having been back in Belgium for a year and a half
now, I notice how the memories have slowly been accumulating a small layer of Australian red dust . This really saddens me; leaving on a journey to the other side of the world is still the best decision I have ever dared to take.
Easy for me to say, when having a great job, a lovely girl by my side and exciting plans to move into a new house. Nevertheless, people in my surroundings seem to be sending signals about doubts, not being comfortable, a lack of a passion,… My mailbox fills up with messages from strangers whose whose heads are full of spider webs. When I’m out for a drink, I hear the same concerns. Wondering whether this is as good as it gets, living the good life of a privileged white twenty-something. Cause in the meantime, there is a whole world waiting out there: we can all buy bitcoins as much as we like, we can hang out in cool hipster coffee shops or we can sway our arms- decorated with the must have wristbands- to the music of Chris Martin at a glorious summer evening concert.
Quarterlife crisis. Check.
Being unhappy in your job or in your relationship, everyone gets that. It’s reaching that 30 year barrier that brings questions to many of us. Early midlife crisis, quoi? (welp, just forget about that ”early” if we keep ignoring climate change) Firstly, we all take refuge in our phones. Looking for some instant gratification on Instagram or some hotfixes on Tinder to get our lives back on track. It soon becomes clear that the next superlikes or #wanderlust are merely a quickfix band aid on the wound. Some of us decide to go and see a therapist, mind you – carefully hiding this from everyone, and after the third visit or so, we then come to the conclusion that talking to our friends is a much cheaper option and actually has the same effect: namely nothing at all.
Hey, those aren’t my words. Professional help is a good thing and it has certainly helped me get back on my feet. My psychologist used to say that I needed to find the answers myself and that I should take decisions myself. Friends are important, but it’s your life and you come first.
This was at the time when the big wide world was beckoning to me. Australia was awaiting me. No hotfixes or quick wins. Nothing but solitude, lessons of wisdom and slowing down. Miles away from your comfort zone and with an immensely long outback ahead of you.
I can still hear them all saying: once you’re out there, you’ll have space enough to “find yourself”. You’ll make “peace with your inner you” again. And a lot more of those annoying cliches. Man, that really set me off. I hated it when people were talking to me like that. That was not the reason I was going away. I was not escaping, I wasn’t running from my problems here. I needed a change, and I needed to discover new passions.
So, hit the road again ?
Ok, that’s sorted then. Leaving to faraway destinations will do the fix. Good solution right? Until I came across the next quote from the great Seth Godin:
“instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”
Waw, music to the ears of all the nay-sayers and sceptics. “When you come back from that gapyear, you’ll be dragged straight back into day to day grinding of life”. Just as if nothing had changed. Or: “You might as well just have stayed home and tried to bite the bullet” and “Tackle your problems here rather than running away from them!”
I was told to grow up and not waste another year -you’re not getting any younger you know, shouldn’t you start thinking about getting married and having babies?” Can I live my own life, kthxbye!
And yet, when I got back, I seemed to have changed. I was simply said just a happier person. That’s a good thing, no? Happy in the moment, quoi? Having been back for a year and a half now, I still can’t explain how. But let me take a shot at it.
I ‘m just more happy, more content. I have discovered new passions that I did not know of they existed. I have met (literally) hundreds of people who taught me to see the bigger picture, to open up my/the world. I’ve learned how small my own little world in Belgium really is. I have realised that there is so much beauty in nature out there that I haven’t seen, so many awesome places still to visit, adventures to be lived and people to be met. And its all just waiting for you right out of your doorstep.
It’s how bright your green shines today
Travelling feels like you’re walking on the greener side of the grass. To discover that the green below your feet on this side is just as bright or as poisonous as on the other side, but the only way to find that out, is to actually have been on both banks. All what really matters is just how bright your greens shine today, right now.
I’m trying my best to leave out all the well known travel quotes, but it’s getting really by now. I’m trying to “live for the moment and to be happy in that moment”. When that’s not the case, I will try to change my ways. Yolo.
Easy for me to say, because I’m feeling really good about life right now. I know how cheap talk is. But all I can do is try, right? Try to get you onto that diving board, making you take the biggest plunge into that wide world. And it’s you and you alone who chooses how high or how deep and how far or how dangerous you make it. The crowd is anticipating, the jury is watching. Hoping for the most elegant dive or the scariest cliff-jump ever. Do you dare? I think you do.
And yes, I won’t with hold you one inspirational quote to wrap things up:
So do I travel to escape life? I travel so life doesn’t escape me.