Travelling is a great passion of mine. Over the past few decades, I travelled to many places (often as a tourleader) like Italy, Spain, Greece, Morocco, Jordan, Syria, Oman Nepal, India, Tibet, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Borneo, Singapore, Sumatra, Java, Bali, Canada, The US, Peru. According to me, nothing beats broadening my horizon by travelling through unknown, exotic countries, populated by colourful dressed people that have been shaped by a profoundly different culture than mine.
But what is it really, that makes travelling so inspiring? Apart from the submergence into a different environment to enjoy the beauty of nature and culture, there is more...Whenever you travel consciously, it can enrich your life, transform you and open your mind. You become more flexible and wiser by absorbing the knowledge and different worldviews of the cultures that you encounter. Confucius already pinned this point thousands of years ago, when he spoke his famous words: ‘It’s better to travel one mile than to read a thousand books’ . The great part about travelling is that you don’t just learn about the civilisations and people that cross your path, but also about yourself and your own culture.
People often ask me which place on earth I find most beautiful. This seems a difficult and unanswerable question to me since the whole planet is scattered with the most amazing landscapes and sheer endless expressions of human beings; from nature tribes to highly developed civilizations. One would think I have seen enough after over 100 travels, but strangely enough it seems like the more one travels, the more travel-inspiration one gets!
It amazes me, that there are always fascinating, unknown countries and areas to be explored, according to the enthusiastic stories of locals and other travelers. Even though I am not done travelling, I picked up the art of writing to share the knowledge, experiences and insights that I have accumulated over the past years. So far, I have written numerous articles, blogs and 5 travel guides.
To me, the flexibility and positivity of many people in Asian countries in particular is very inspiring. They seem flexible like bamboo and take responsibility for their own lives by eagerly taking every presented chance for growth and development. Besides, I am attracted to the Taoist concept of going with the flow of nature, and Buddha’s rebellious advices to think for one self, and to never take anything for the truth, except your own findings.
Apart from all of this, travelling has shown me the astonishing beauty of cultural and ethnic diversity, and the importance of cultural exchange and the preservation of authenticity in a fast globalising world. More room for appreciation of the positive aspects of each others cultural background can be achieved by attaining knowledge of it. This comprehension is also essential for the much needed nuance. In my opinion, it is truly important to realise deeply that, despite the many apparent differences between countries and people, there is so much that binds us all.
Every human being knows the same hopes and fears -despite being strongly shaped by its local culture and traditions-, and experiences the same field of consciousness. However, the development of this consciousness can differ significantly, per person as well as per culture. My many travels have not only taught me much about other civilizations, I also came to see my own culture with different eyes.
In believe great value lies in the open and free characteristics of many western societies, where there’s no dominance of suppressive belief structures, and where great importance lies on the legacy of the Renaissance; the activation of the rational and creative forces within human beings. It seems that there are only a few countries in the world like the Netherlands, where one (especially women) can freely fulfill his/her own potential and shape one’s life. The solution of many world problems seems to lay in decreasing the lagging behind of many girls in developing countries. Whenever they can go to school and develop themselves, this will have a very positive effect on not just their own wellbeing, but also on problems of poverty, overpopulation and sexual exploitation. More info on this can be found at http://plan-international.org .
How fantastic would it be if the inevitable process of globalisation can make people aware of their own culture, so they can use this ‘world consciousness’ to transcend their limiting cultural and religious conditionings? Then, the road is clear to fully express one's own individuality and potential, even while holding on to valuable cultural traditions. In conclusion and to inspire conscious travel, here’s another beautiful quote, from J.R.R. Tolkien this time: ‘Not all those who wander are lost’.