Highways and Country Roads – Speed vs. Life

I like to compare life with road.

Both roads and our lives have ups and downs, straight lines and curves, hidden turns and surprising landscapes, new experiences and fellow passengers on the way.

Indeed, life is a highway.

Yet roads can be different. Some roads are first-class super fast motorways, others are more modest country roads.

While highways have a definite speed advantage, there’s not much you can see there. The best things happen on smaller country roads passing through hidden towns and valleys, the roads that connect people and destinies.

If you happen to travel by car or bicycle, or any another vehicle you drive yourself, take a moment and get off the motorway for the sake of a smaller local road. The longer – at first sight – route will bring many surprises that cannot be noticed at 70 mph on the highway.

After all, the shortest way is not always the fastest one.

Long Road

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East or West, home is best?

They say there’s no place like home. Other popular refrains are “home, sweet, home” and “East or West, home is best”. I agree that after long traveling, no matter how fun it may be, little can feel better than getting back home. Yet is the meaning of home is really so clear?

The common connotations with home are the following.

Home is where you were born.

Home is where you were raised.

Home is where your parents live.

Home is where you spent your childhood.

Home is where you feel good and all problems fade away.

The list can go on and on. Yet I propose to look at the meaning of home from the esoteric side. Home is not merely a geographic location. Nor is it just a sweet spot in your memory box. Home is where you feel at peace with yourself.

In many cases this kind of home coincides with the physical home, i.e. the place where you live. But not always.

In fact, we can feel good and be in harmony with ourselves literally anywhere. This means that true home is within ourselves.

No matter where you go, no matter what you do, no matter what happens to you, you can always return to your Home.

Your Home is always with you.

On The Road

“Sal, we gotta go and never stop going ’till we get there.’
‘Where we going, man?’
‘I don’t know but we gotta go.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Road is not just a physical line connecting point A with point B. Road is a state of mind, a metaphysical experience, a way of life. It does not mean you must be virtually driving or riding every singe day. What this means is that life itself may be perceived as a road – with ups and downs, straight lines and curves, hidden turns and surprising landscapes, new experiences and fellow passengers on the way.

Meditating from such perspective can be very powerful. Next time you’re driving or riding any vehicle, think that the road is your life, and you make your own path through your conscious choices. It’s important to control the vehicle yourself, so public transport won’t be good for this purpose.

As you keep on riding, realize not only the traffic lights and jams on the way, but also the excitement of following your route towards your destination. The road is yours, and you are the only one giving direction to your vehicle and, similarly, to your life.

“Life is a highway, and I wanna ride it all night long”

Bike2Work

Tired of long commutes to work in the crowded public transport? Fed up with traffic jams riding your car in the city? Looking for refreshment, adventure, and pleasure? The solution is very simply – bicycle. Get on it and and give it a try, or a give it a pedal. Here are just some 10 reasons why cycling is awesome.

1) Exercise. A great way to keep fit with minimum efforts while having the opportunity to:

2) Enjoy. Cycling is a mere pleasure in itself. Just try and discover for yourself the awesomeness of smooth gliding in the urban or rural environment dodging between people and vehicles.

3) Discover. Explore new places, get new experiences. A car may be too fast, a walk may be too slow. A bike is the golden middle.

4) Easy parking. That’s a good advantage in the urban areas. Just tie up your two-wheel mustang to a pole, and you’re done.

5). Saving. No need to spend money on gas and parking tickets. Bicycle maintenance does not involve high costs, unless you’re doing a tour round the world.

6) Flexibility and maneuverability. Dodging between objects, people and cars is very easy. Transporting a bike is relatively easy too.

7) Speed. Two wheels can go really fast. Especially in a big city, where you don’t need to stay in the traffic jams or make designated stops. On an average, riding in the city can be as fast or even faster as using public transport.

8) Personal space. You and your bike. Nobody else around. Except maybe a voice singing from your MP3 player.

9) Ecology friendliness. No emissions, no CO2, no smoke. Just your own muscles and the power of thrust.

10) Freedom. Riding does create, at least for a while, the sense of freedom and self-sufficiency.

Keep riding!

Hitchhiking: practical guide

Hitchhiking, like couch-surfing, is a way of active traveling aimed at exploration, discovery and fun. Among other things, hitchhiking is:

  • The cheapest way of traveling
  • A great way to meet new people and make friends
  • An alternative and fun way to organize a vacation
  • A great way to learn the world and yourself
  • The best way to see real life from the inside, rather than through a hotel’s window
  • And much more…

If need some practical advice how to hitchhike safely (in contrast to the common belief it’s unsafe 🙂 ), you can check my mini-guide here.

Have fun!

If you don’t have a teacher – travel

There is a saying: “If you don’t have a teacher – travel”. One could add: “If you have a teacher, travel anyway”. Traveling is indeed a great way to explore not only the world around, but first of all yourself. On the one hand, getting into an unfamiliar environment, you get an experience of “seeing is believing”. On the other hand, unknown, unusual and sometimes extreme situations help you experience your own ‘self’. Everyone can find something new on a journey, open to the world and absorb new impressions, make his or her own observations, learn his or her lessons.

Since I remember myself I have always adored cycling as a way of getting around and traveling. In the city a bicycle is a great alternative to the crowded public transport, as well as a save-up on tickets or gas, a way to keep fit and simply a source of pleasure from riding. Add flexibility, maneuverability, speed, lack of parking problem and ecology friendliness – and you basically get a perfect mode of transport. I have cycled over Hungary, in Slovakia and Austria, through ex-Yugoslavia, across the Minnesota state in US, not to mention numerous towns and villages in the native Ukraine… And each time the journey was full of fresh impressions, meetings with interesting people, delight with the beauties of nature and an enormous pleasure from the Road.

Hitchhiking became another revelation. Long before my first hitchhiker’s journey I read and heard lots of stories about this non-standard way of traveling. And when the circumstances were finally favorable (including vacation and good weather), I made up my mind and headed from Budapest to Belgium. Withing three and a half days I crossed Hungary, Austria, Germany and Belgium in more than thirty vehicles, got to know unforgettable and bright people, and got another portion of drive and pure satisfaction. Hitchhiking brought an understanding that:

– there are much more exciting and joyful ways to explore the world that through the window of a hotel room or airplane cabin
– money is not always a must for a wonderful vacation full of adventures
– hitchhiking gives you a touch of a a real non-touristic life, life from the inside, connecting you with the drivers full of enriching and instructive stories
– the world is open to those who are open to the world
– the Earth is out common home, and the people in it are all brothers

Every time there is a mix of contradictory feelings when you’re in for a new journey. On the one hand there is an inside tickle from the unknown and anticipation of pleasure from the road. On the other hand – doubts and idleness to venture out for the unfamiliar new. Perhaps paradoxes and contradictions are part of human nature. Strength comes hand in hand with weakness, courage with fear, joy with sadness… However, once could agree that the best strategy to follow one’s Way is to run away from safety against all fears and hesitations. After all, this is exactly the difference between a coward and a brave one: both have fear, but the former surrenders, while the latter moves on.

There are countless ways to travel for sure. It is no that important how you travel. It is not even important where you are going. The main thing is moving itself, active exploration, quest, discovering something new both outside and inside. As they say, it is not the destination but the journey that counts.

Nice traveling to everyone!

I’m Not an Idiot – I’m a Dreamer!

A few days ago I watched a beautiful movie called “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. The main idea is very deep. It’s about a tragedy of human life when everything goes wrong, and we retreat to our comfort zone (even if it’s only in our heads), from where we are so afraid to get out and back into the world. But this is also a movie about dreamers.

Walter Mitty is a man of great potential, brave heart and talent. He is simply scared to give himself a chance to put his great ideas into life, and drowns in his bright yet crazy fantasies. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is a film about the first and most important step, about an event that pushes us to overcome ourselves and perform heroic deeds.

The-Secret-Life-Walter-Mitty-03-1

I think many can draw a parallel between Walter Mitty’s life and his or her own.

If every second of your life is filled with sense and action, this film and post are not for you. Rather, it addresses those who think their lives lack brightness and who are stuck in everyday routine and chores. Walter Mitty sets a vivid example of how to turn “from a caterpillar into a butterfly”.

Action is indispensable. Only action brings true knowledge and moves you towards your goals and dreams. However, the very first step is to have a Dream.

They say one can tell a lot about a person by observing his friends. Others say you can understand someone by looking into the books he or she reads. Likewise you would learn a great deal about someone if you could know his dreams.

Take a few seconds to to address a simple question:

What is my biggest dream? Or, what are my biggest dreams?

If you can answer these instantly, congratulations! You have a direction, at least in your mind, where you want to go. A true Dream has noting to do with day-dreaming. Day-dreaming is an idle wasting of time that could be used for action. A real dream is like a vision where you want to stand after taking the road.

I believe once we know what ours dreams are, with hard-work, perseverance, discipline and patience, we are doomed to reach our destinations. And even if not, the lessons learned on the way will be an invaluable experience. After all, everything happens for the best.

So what if there is no answer to the question above? Then start dreaming! Who said a “small person” can’t have big dreams in his heart? Even an average office employee, not only a Superman, wants to perform sometimes maybe an insane yet heroic deed, believe in his or her strength and courage. Walter Mitty proves that is absolutely possible.