Sunday, August 26, 2012

What Travelling teaches you

Travelling teaches you that you will still wake up with your heartache and your loneliness and that sinking feeling, on a mountain top in Eastern Europe or a sunset in Portugal. You may be thousands of kilometres away from where your problems began and the people that it started with, but you can't leave your mind in a cardboard box, at home somewhere in the back of your closet.

Travelling teaches you about that tiniest, humblest of spaces you occupy in the world. You travel to places filled with people whose names you don't know and they accost your eyes with strangeness and familiarity. They have lives, cultures, customs, languages of which you are not privy, that exist outside of you. You are small and the world is big. This is humbling, you will feel meek and grateful.

Travelling teaches you about the limits of your own mortality. Things could happen to you, in this big, bad world. You could break a leg, or break a rule or cross a line that is more dangerous, more stupid in a country that is not yours. You could disappear, somewhere on this other side. And it's frightening and enlightening and you eat more humble pie.

Travelling teaches you about difference. You are still surprised when you arrive in a place that is different to yours, even though you know from books and movies and past experience that Your World is not the only one. People do things differently, from driving to the other side of the road to the way they dress, their general disposition on life that makes you think beyond the square you had carefully drawn around yourself.

Travelling teaches you about commonalities. Because despite the weird words that stumble awkwardly on your tongue, and the architecture you've never seen and the history that is visible and palpitating, people in this place are still happy and sad, young and old, have families, are looking for jobs, are a different face of the same humanity that it is comforting to know exists.

Travelling teaches you the gaping, astounding, breadth of the world; to get lost in, to navigate, to retreat to, to escape from. It teaches you about the strengths and weaknesses of your own character. And it pokes you and prods you and makes you reconsider things, or perhaps it reaffirms you but it is a priceless, relentless, teacher, nonetheless. 


  1. i love this!
    would you mind if I quote you on this entire entry on my blog?!
    let me know!

    muuucchh love,

    1. hey abigal, not a problem at all! Glad you liked it :)

  2. The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.
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