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!