To meet new sights and see new worlds.
The dream of the poor, the commonplace of the wealthy, and the stretch of the middle class.
A voyage (voyage, voyage… anyone?) has the quasi mythical power of transforming you in a “new you”.
At least that is what has been promised since the 70’s or so.
Millennials adopted that mindset. People packing, traveling light and returning better humans.
But where are all those better humans? If you take a ride in a public bus/metro/whatever, or go to work, you’ll see that people, despite being well-traveled around the world or not, still fight for the same petty things as ever.
A lie promoted to all of us, as usual, and my generation bite the hook, line and sinker.
Don’t believe me? The pendulum swung to the other side, and the web is now ripe with the other side of “abandon your daily job, travel around the world and you will be free”.
People saying how these decisions made life very, very hard for themselves, and not so rewarding.
That applies to you, Mr. and Ms. “I have a decent paycheck working on a desk with air conditioner”.
Depending on your credentials, in another country you may be hired only to do menial jobs. Are you ready to break bricks for 12h straight to justify your hipsterness?
Yes, you who in your country has a housekeeper who is “almost family” will possibly work as one in your dream country. Are you ready for that experience?
Breaking bricks is pretty much the same everywhere.
Why don’t you do it here? Where you stand it is beneath you, but in a different geographical location it becomes your life’s calling?
It is not.
It appears different due to our tendency to fetishisize things.
We see another country through the lenses of movies, books and social media. We don’t foresee the angry cashier, we only see that the french croissant is inherently better than our own boring, grey croissant (if you eat an actual grey croissant bad things may happen).
If only I had this, or that in my country is the mantra.
Traveling around with that underlying assumption is just plain old consumerism disguised as healthy, or even spiritual, detachment.
If you are still with me, it’s no surprise that people return the same in actions, despite talking about how they have grown as a human being.
You cannot live true spirituality by doing a rich man’s savannah hunt, by being marveled at how those poor bastards in Ethiopia manage to live, despite not having Iphones.
At least they are happy, you say to yourself.
True spirituality is action.
Is acting as a human with compassion and empathy. Listening.
Being helpful instead of destructive.
To do that, you don’t need a penny.
You don’t need to travel around light or this or that.
You just need to decide and take action.
The world desperately needs more people willing to take this leap of faith: not of traveling not knowing when, and how you will return, but the leap of trusting yourself as a spiritual being capable of making change in the world, and capable of seeing both the people were you live and people of the different countries as people, and not as fetishes to consume and experience.
Yes, traveling is needed.
But inwards, to discover yourself.
And by understanding and showing compassion towards yourself, you will understand others.