Travelling for me has imbued me with an unquenchable sense of adventure. An old flame emailed me today asking me to go to South America with her in May if only for a month or so. The sensible side of me says that's out of the question! No way Mark, you don't even have a job right now, even if you did, you'd then have to leave it after a month or so with unpaid leave if you are that lucky, and then what?? However the mischievous side of me said "oh my god mark, this is the best most exciting yet risky offer you've been given in a long time! It'll allow me to see parts I missed out on and have a fun/thrilling time doing it with a girl with whom I used to date back in Sydney. What could be more exciting than spontaneously taking off like that?
I haven't replied yet because there is a real and definite part of me that wants to fuck off and do that! I could sell off some assets here and there and just go. A bit of Angel vs Devil goin on in my mind. Should I stay or should I go?
Sense of adventure means you explore new places, meet locals and get a real sense for what their culture, religion and food are really like. For example Chinese drivers are bad drivers and Aussies hate them for it. I hate the way they talk so loudly on public transport. Their restaurants here can be good however people here don't have a true sense of how much better it is in China. I'm fascinated by how people think, how/where their way of being derives from. Learning and picking up on the differences and why those differences occur. They spit and don't wait in lines and will run you over even if you have a green man at the lights... but that's beijing for you. The most populous city in the world with 30 million people. It's every man for himself. talking loudly is like a must, it's the only way to be heard. Waiting in lines? That's for sissys and you think it's frustrating to wait in traffic here?
I still don't like the spitting or the not waiting in lines but going there at least makes me understand why they do it.
You can read about cultures and religions and what not in a book or on the internet but I think you get so much more out of your learning by seeing, feeling and experiencing these things first hand. For eg going inside one of the oldest mosques in the world in Damascus, Syria and watching what they actually do whilst simultaneously learn the "why" is an experience that can't be bought. You can read that they have to wear pants or that they wash themselves prior to entering and praying but witnessing it first hand in an environment that is entirely their own. sitting on the carpet quietly and observing their prayer rituals, staying at one's house and chatting about their ways over Chai and been given their prayer beads upon leaving is a travelling memory that'll stay with me forever. At first I hated being woken up by the sounds of "the call to prayer" from the mosques but your mind and body gets used to it to the point where you learn to appreciate it rather than being against it.
As mentioned before food is different and in my opinion usually a lot better in its country of origin. Would you rather go to a Gourmet Pizza restaurant in Melbourne/Sydney or would you rather go to Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba in Naples - the first Pizza place in the world? (Not to forget you are paying a fraction of the price) Their pizza is remarkably simple yet such a tasty treat. The base, the tomato paste they use... mmmm. And with other pizza places in Italy they don't over do it with the cheese like how Americans and Australians do. Exotic topics to us is normal for them.
Or how about that indescribably special feeling you get the moment you step into the sistine chapel in Vatican City for the first time.
Or eating Malai kofta and chapati with your hands, chomping on cucumbers and slamming down chai after chai sitting on the floor in Jaipur, Rajasthan with a bunch of Indian dudes laughing and story telling amongst ourselves. That to me is far more interesting than ordering take away butter chicken and slouching in front of a tv only to eat it on a nice plate with a knife and fork.
Lastly is seeing the amazing and different landscapes. The White calcium cascading hills in Pammukale or the alienlike rock formations/landscape of Kapadokya also in Turkey are prime examples not to be missed. Climbing up 2800 steps after 5 days hiking - your efforts being rewarded with the sight of Machu Picchu. The Torres Del Paine National Park in Patagonia. Towers of the water it translates to in English. When you actually witness these mountainous towers standing tall and looking over the most unbelievably turqouise coloured lake after just walking 3 hours with a large heavy back pack on your back...
My next plan is to go to Africa. I've never had much African food in my life. I count Egyptian to be more middle eastern in culture/food even though geographically it sits in Africa. I'm so curious about what a real African tribe would be like. (not in a patronizing way) I'd love to try their customs, I wanna climb Killamanjaro, see Victoria falls, scuba dive in mozambique and see kruger national park on a safari. But this time, most of all I wanna help build houses in somewhere in West Africa like Ghana and/or teach English whilst they teach me French.
On another topic, since that day I was anxious I felt a nervous energy for the rest of the week. It was horribly uncomfortable yet it didn't stop me from doing things.It was an odd physical feeling to go through. Thankfully that's over today a new day a new week, better feelings.