Note: This is a passionate post, but be warned that if you’re looking for some conventional love story, you will possibly be disappointed.
When you’re faced with the word ‘love’, what do you think about? What is love? The absence of love makes life incomplete. It creates a void that affects the very purpose of existence. Why are we alive if we cannot love? If we are not passionate, striving for what we are passionate about, are we really fulfilling our purpose in life?
‘Love’ is a bit of a tricky word for me. What does ‘love’ mean? It means too many things at one time. I feel incomplete in many ways, but when I set out to find my one true love, one thing stared at me longer than other things. Finding a soul mate can complete you in a different way, but finding a person like that is dependent on many factors. However, if finding love is in your own hands (only), what would you choose? What do you love with such intensity that you would be a different person without it? What is one thing that would change you completely (and not in a good way) if you didn’t have it, or if you did not have a passion for it? What is one thing you could not exist without, or you would feel completely purposeless without? I didn’t have to ponder long and hard on this one. The answer has always been there inside me.
If there’s one thing I love most, (apart from the obviously important people in my life), it has to be travel. That’s definitely my one true love. I’ve practically been travelling since before I was born (no joke), so I suppose it’s only natural that there’s a love for travel running through my veins. Nevertheless I don’t feel I’ve travelled nearly as much as I should have and that makes me feel incomplete.
Everyone has a dream. Some dream of earning lots of money, others of getting married and having kids, others dream of becoming famous. I just dream of travel – and I don’t mean this in the ‘oh, I dream of being this world-famous football player one day’. I actually have dreams of travelling.
Travel is the one thing that keeps me genuinely happy, that makes me feel like there’s nothing more beautiful in life. When I’m travelling, I feel grateful for each day that I am in a different place. I feel alive. I feel like I’ve been gifted new eyes every day. I realise how beautiful and wonderful the world is. I think the experience of travelling teaches one more things than any other experience does.
Travel opens horizons. You interact with different people – you learn from their experiences and thoughts. When they do not speak a language you do, you learn how to communicate with them and this is an experience on its own. You learn how different expectations and reality are. You might have planned things for your trip but watch how plans are often modified unexpectedly when you hit the ground. You see different things – sights that stay with you for the rest of your life.
Travel makes one a different person, and how one travels is also a reflection of oneself. If you go to a place with an open mind, with a desire to experience the genuine sights, sounds, and tastes of a place, you ultimately possess an independent spirit that is willing to go out of its comfort zone. If you travel and try to find familiarity in all the places you visit, you do not really make an effort to broaden your horizons at all. Therefore your travel experience is as much as refection of you as you are a reflection of where and how much you have travelled.
The reasons I love travel so much are because I love being in unfamiliar places, with different faces and languages around me. I love being in the ethnic minority. That means I feel more at home when I’m in an environment where people do not look like me, do not speak languages I know, and do not do things people in my culture/country do. I can proudly say that I am a cultural chameleon and have never had culture shocks in any of the countries or places I’ve visited. That really must mean that travel is my true love, right?
I love the newness of the streets, the different sights and smells, the different ways in which people interact with you. There’s nothing more satisfying than reading up about a place, envisioning it, and then finally visiting it and seeing how different or similar it is to how you had imagined it.
I love change (not all kinds) – but especially when places change. That’s how I have grown up and I cannot imagine being stuck in one place for long periods of time. When places around me change, I feel like a new person, with new experiences set before me. That’s in essence why travel makes me happiest.
And then I love going through old photographs and also through my passports. It’s amazing to be able to know when you stepped into a country and when you went out. It’s like a floodgate of memories opens up and you go through the same wonderful feeling of travelling all over again.
People save money to buy cars, to raise their future kids, to build a house, but I save money to travel. The only flipside is when I return ‘home’ (home is a very confusing word for me) after travelling, I end up with a major travel hangover, and the familiarity of everything around me irks me to no end. I still don’t know what the cure to this is though. But if I’m to take Henry David Thoreau’s words “the only remedy for love is to love more” seriously, then I suppose the only remedy for this travel hangover is to travel more. True love is hard to find, and when you have it, you must keep it burning.
After all, what is life without true love?