|In Antarctica. Photo: Lia Miternique.|
I don’t like being called a travel expert, despite having visited every country on Earth, all 198 of them. Because travelling is something personal, something that is experienced from within. It will help define you and your understanding of the world and I can never teach you how you should travel. But I can tell you why I find it a purely magical thing.
And I mean the entire experience, including the journey from A to B by bike, train, plane, bus and taxi. Let me not forget in train station and airport either. I do of course enjoy exploring my destinations, snapping shots of indescribable sceneries, meeting colourful locals, tasting their foods and politely nipping to their not-so-tasty homemade brew, but what is travelling without the journey?
Gruelling or not, it is what creates your expectations, what ignites your fantasy of what your next port of call looks like and what triggers your questions of the fun that await on the other side. Only the journey itself leaves you alone to prepare or to digest, without disturbing impressions that vividly paint themselves on your mind. The sterile presence of an all too familiar airplane seat lets your thoughts wander and exhilarate in preparation for the unknown fireworks that are awaiting to explode in an ever nearer distance. Transportation is the catalyst of adventure.
Of course, I do not loathe walking in streets with odd names, either. Because you never really know what awaits you around the corner. And that, my friend, is what boosts creativity. That address you cannot find, the salesman who doesn’t accept your credit cards, the overbooked hotel or the sudden hailstorm and freeze. Your mind needs to find a way. And it isn’t like home. Consider creativity boosted.
Just one thing. Smile. A smile will open more doors than any universal key. Be humble, open, forgiving – and please, please, please – leave any arrogance at home. You are on someone else’s turf. Respect their ways, ponder over them and ask questions. Just let yourself enjoy. Cultures are different, joyfully so. How boring, how non-inspirational wouldn’t travelling be if everyone, everywhere were like you?
Originally written for The West Australian, a newspaper.