Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down…how do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?
― Shams Tabrizi
It’s been some time since I’ve posted anything. Despite so many wonderful adventures, chance encounters and soul searching, I haven’t known what I wanted to say.
For this one simple reason…why am I doing it?
And the “it” is so many things: the travelling, the writing, the journey.
At the beginning everything is so simple, so fresh. Newness keeps it all special and like everything there is a happiness in the routines that come about – in that respect my decision to leave everything behind and take to the road is no different to the life of anybody else. Living on the go, you are still living, and the same emotions are present for me as they are for you.
There are many moments when i have reached the limits of my endurance, physically and mentally, where I have wanted to sit down and cry, to let it all out. But the tears don’t flow and I have felt empty and emotionless. To the point of really questioning: why?
It’s not that I am unhappy with my choice – I still wouldn’t want to be anywhere else or doing something different. But when reality sets in, how do I deal with that? When the days melt into one and the continuous moving grinds me down? And it has, and it does. What then?
It is not the physical strain which has been the most difficult, but the mental aspects of the journey. I never even imagined what impact it would have. There is a fairytale element to travelling, and this IS incredible. But there is also a much more difficult aspect: never being settled, always saying goodbye, and never feeling complete, or satisfied. The restless wanderer who is always searching
“Perhaps you seek too much, and as a result of your seeking you cannot find…
When someone is seeking, it happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of of the thing he is seeking. Because he has a goal…
Seeking means: to have a goal.
Finding means: to be free, to be receptive, and to have no goal.
In striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose”
― Herman Hesse, Siddhartha
On October 1st it will be 2 years since I began walking. It seems to be a good time to really stop and evaluate. And this year I have had to do a lot of that. It has been months of soul searching. This is why I have not been writing on the blog. Not because I haven’t been to amazing places, or meeting wonderful people. But for another reason entirely.
The words did not come. Or if they did, they were not meant be put down here.
I have filled endless notebooks with words, stories, meetings, thoughts, poems, dreams and wishes. All of the people who have passed through my life, and in reality have now just become a name on my Facebook friends page.
And recently I lost one of those notebooks. Seemingly a years worth of my life contained within. But is it lost?
I could be upset, and dwell on all the information contained within, the countless friends whose names and stories have gone. Or I can look a different way. Why do I write? What am I trying to say? And why do I want to say it? Is it for me, or you the reader? Do I have a story to tell? Or do I write to remember?
If the ink washes off, what are you left with?
The blank page
For it is what is kept within the heart that keeps me moving, and those memories will never be lost.
“Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
When I started walking it was to visit the places I studied, to be a part of the incredible world I had seen in photos: those places which you see and fill you with a longing to be there.
I wanted to put myself inside the picture.
And so after all the searching, and the restless wandering, I know that I am part of the picture. Every day. I have found myself struck dumb by the generosity of people, and speechless with the beauty around me. This is why I still continue, and why the road keeps me going
Recently I sat on a mountainside taking in a view which I had only ever seen in photos. I was in the Caucasus mountains in Georgia, following a trail which took me up to 3,500 metres, and 5kms from the border with Chechnya. Never before have I been in such a place. Endless expanses of the most incredible natural beauty you can imagine. This was my playground for 2 weeks.
As I sat there, I wanted to really truly feel this amazing place I was in. And so I just sat and meditated. And my meditation took the form of my journey. I recalled the places I have been and traced every step. I saw again the endless expanses I have walked, the towering castles of Italy, the mystical ruins of Greece, and the rock cut caves of Turkey. I pictured the faces of all those who follow my journey from afar, my friends and family who are all over the world (and if you are reading this now then you are one of them!), and also all those people who have been a part of my journey, without whom I would never be able to continue. The people who have opened their hearts and their homes to this wandering stranger, and given more than they can possibly know. I wanted to remember each and every one of them, and to thank them. And to thank this beautiful world I have the privilege of seeing, and being a part of.
And I smiled, and felt completely filled with all this abundance and beauty which even I often take for granted and do not see.
I simply held it all, and tried to send this feeling to everyone, to connect from far away. For there are so many things we cannot see, but we are all connected by something which is within is all.
I haven’t come here to settle downI’ve come here to depart.I am a merchant with lots of goods,Selling to whoever will buy.I didn’t come here to create any problems,I’m only here to love.A heart makes a good home for the friend.I’ve come to build some hearts.I’m a little drunk from this friendship –Any lover would know the state I’m in.I’ve come to exchange my twoness,To disappear in One.He is my teacher. I am His servant.I am a nightingale in his garden.I’ve come to the teacher’s garden,To be happy and die singing.They say “souls which know each other here, know each other there”.I’ve come to know a teacher,And to show myself as I am.Yunus Emre