A year on the road – some thoughts

Head_Edna godina na pytia

Today, 4 April 2016, it’s been an year since we opened the front door, stepped out of the door-sill, lifted a thumb up and headed for the remotest parts of the world. One year is a very long time, a string of wondrous moments ad infinitum.

This is the longest journey we have ever embarked on, a journey that leaves life-changing marks on our souls and faces. Wandering is now a way of life for us that we have consciously chosen. It is a dream come true. There is nothing on Earth we want or crave for, nothing that is more precious than the present moment; we are lost and free on the dusty roads of unseen lands. The best day is always… today. As far as our future and past are concerned, we stopped thinking about them a long time ago. Here is a short overview of our travel:

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People from a Gurdwara in India

04.04.15 Bulgaria – green and precious.

05.04.15 Turkey – it feels like home.

09.04.15 Iran – deserts and heart-melting goodness.

16.04.15 Pakistan – on the edge, great adventures.

31.05.15 India – a different world where miracles are possible. Reality from another planet, reality that we felt fond of and deeply attracted to.

25.11.15 Myanmar –  a land like no other, gold, pagodas, palms – beauty reaching the bottom of your heart.

22.12.15 Thailand – a blissful rest for the tired wanderer.

19.02.16 Malaysia – submersion in the jungle among gigantic trees to love and a magic berthing at the oldest ports of the world.

19.03.16 Singapore – teleportation to a cosmic station.

Today we are preparing to fly to the island of Borneo where the sultanate of Brunei is. This is our first flight for the year because there are no boats sailing this distance anymore. So we have to fly (just this time). We are elated by the forthcoming adventures in new lands. We don’t feel tired, we don’t feel a need to stop. We are open to a world, full of surprises, which to us is no longer an old movie showing the same pictures every day.

After Borneo we plan to continue on water visiting Sumatra and then Java, Bali, Lombok, Flores, Sulawesi, Maluku Islands and Papua New Guinea. After that we hope that someday we will find a ship to take us to Australia and New Zealand. These plans are vague and far away but for now we consider Australia to be the end of the current journey.

Many people ask us what is the feeling of traveling such a long time, how traveling changes you, what do you learn about the world? The traveler depends on the Universal flow, doesn’t know where the next day will take us or what and who we will meet on the road. Such a long journey without hotels, hitchhiking, makes one vulnerable to the surrounding environment dependent on human kindness and open to surprises. The mundane world is no longer an old movie showing the same pictures every day.

In no time, the feeling of being connected to the wondrous, supreme Earth conquers the senses of the traveler. One starts seeing, a process which is quite different from mechanically looking the daily life. The traveler sees a sparkling cloud in the sky, sees the worn-out face of the beggar, sees the ornaments on the houses in the cities, sees the ant crawling on one’s leg, sees the emotions reflected in the eyes of the passers-by, and sees the World. All is seen for the first time, all is new and amazing.

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Woman from the Akha Tribe, Thailand

The traveler doesn’t use labels, stereotypes or viewpoints to appraise the reality. The traveler sees only an endless string of miracles. The present moment is so full that thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow become useless and boring. This gift is more precious than all other gifts. Wandering is an easy way to reach this state. Of course, it’s not the only one and not every traveler can do it. In general, when one is traveling, this realization happens organically, by itself.

Another gift we discovered is the freedom to stop wanting. One learns that nobody can buy the world, throw it on the shoulders and take it away. One can’t eat and drink exotic foods all the time or visit every single place on Earth. The traveler is more than satisfied with the shirt he/she wears (it’s enough), with the loaf of bread in the rucksack (enough) and by the places faith leads him/her to (both enough and not enough at the same time).

With time needs fade away little by little and when there are no constant desires to be satisfied, one finds out that he/she has all the time in the world for joyous existence without being disappointed. The traveler learns to accept the reality as it is. To merge with it without resistance. One of the most important lessons we’ve learned while traveling is to believe in the Universe, Energy, God or whatever you wish to call it.

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Meditating Sadhu (saint), India

Every day the wanderer finds out that there is always a place where he/she can lie down after a tiring day, that there are no good and bad situations. (Few people actually realize that the following saying is true: “Every cloud has a silver lining”, and the opposite is also true – “Every silver lining has a little cloud in it”). Life is a flow and all that happens has its meaning; it’s illusory to classify it as good or bad and it’s out of the context of the non-permanent nature of the World. By believing, one understands that everything is all right and merges with the Whole.

These are some of the gifts that Traveling offers to those who are bald enough to hit the road. Of course, you can also add the endless beauty of the Earth, cultural and informational enrichment, broadening one’s view of life, seeing new perspectives of the World…

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Gold diggers, Pakistan

About the Earth and her people

An old yogi meditates under a banyan tree. A man wearing a long skirt is on the market bargaining over a kilo of veal. A woman gathers leaves and roots in the forest. A corpulent jogger runs on the alley in the park. One wears a veil, another is naked, third lives in a straw hut, forth in an ice house, fifth on the 87-th floor, sixth, seventh, eight… hundred thousandth, millionth, billionth – they are all different.

The human in thousands forms, having different appearance, clothes, way of life, social role and status, beliefs, different viewpoints, this same human has created a myriad of societies and cultures around the world – and this is what makes traveling so interesting. When we meet people who are very different from us, they surprise us with their different perception of the same places we visit, of the same experiences we have with them, and make us doubt in our own stereotypes (if we are open enough to this, of course).

Xhushi with balochi_Pakistan

Magy with the military escort next to the border with Afghanistan, Pakistan

The day when we realize that there are no right and wrong ways of life has come. Our views are not more supreme than those of anyone else. The whole framework in which we perceive the reality that surrounds us is nothing more than a product of complex social biases. These superstructures come from the culture we were raised in, our psychological conditioning and our historical heritage. The description of the world that our family and society give us is a very successful tool for survival and that’s why people hardly ever question it; we are like this and namely because of this we survived (they say).

But there is one little detail missing here: this is just a description. There have been many descriptions throughout the ages, but they have been just descriptions; none of them has ever become an actual reality. The Reality is inexpiable. It doesn’t have absolute attributes or qualities and it could only be perceived partially by the human mind. The traveler adopts this point of view and doesn’t judge diversities and doesn’t put anything in boxes with labels. The traveler believes that one can learn something new from every culture. Diversification is a treasure, an encyclopedia to different approaches and perceptions of the surrounding world, which sometimes turn out to be true.

The fact that there are so many different people is the greatest gift. We see them but while traveling, beneath all these diversities we see something that is the same in every human. Behind the masks, the roles, the programmed mind we see something unique – the absolutely identical pure nature of the soul. Often hidden beneath layers and layers of thoughts and social programming IT IS there. It doesn’t matter how the mind is tuned or if it is scrambled, inside every one (including you, dear reader), the pure human consciousness with its endless potential is there. We speak different languages, we share different views, but when we manage to make a real connection with another human being, we feel that behind all this we are one and the same.

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Sadhu in India

It is hard to describe with words the essence of the experiences that a long journey brings in itself. The verbal knowledge and the written symbols bring associative images that have little to do with the existential experience itself. As the old Chinese saying tells: “The finger that points to the moon is not the moon itself”. The best way to perceive personal knowledge of the World is to immerse in it 🙂

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A girl from Hosseini Village, Pakistan

 

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Abdullah, our truck driver in Turkey

 

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Mostafa and Azadeh from Bijar, Iran

 

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Our friend Rasul Japhary, Iran

 

Iran, Kerman Chador woman

Chador woman, Kerman, Iran

 

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Local woman Gulmit, Pakistan

 

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How chapatas are made, India

 

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A local guy in Myanmar

 

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A local riding an elephant, Thailand

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