Every day I meet people who are amazed that I have decided to walk to India, in fact 3 very different types of people: the friendly, the indifferent and the angry. For many I’m just another person passing by, without any meaning to their lives. For others my journey perhaps goes against everything they have been brought up to believe: work, family and a sense of duty come before anything else, and so they can be openly aggressive, as if I am doing something wrong.
The third group are those who make the journey: So many people I can now call my friends; and countless others who are moved by my story and so become part of it – many of them tell me they would love to do something like this but they have attachments and fear. The idea of breaking the mould is unthinkable but they can be part of a dream for a short while, and this is why they help me. In their hearts they wish they could just drop everything. This very human instinct to experience the unknown is both intoxicating and frightening. Perhaps they admire the idea – not me, but the decision I have made to walk. It speaks to something deep inside, a dormant feeling to keep moving, which in our modern world often manifests itself as restlessness, which drives people to keep busy and work. But I have chosen a different path…
And that is why I have made a decision…
I’ve been thinking about all these people who I have met over the course of my journey. All those who have stopped me in the street to talk, offered me a cup of tea, a plate of food, or bed for the night.
Those people who, with nothing to gain, have allowed this wanderer into their lives and those of their families.
All of the strangers I have met who seem half surprised themselves to have this strange Englishman sitting on their sofas in front of them.
Those people who have so little, and yet can share it with love, care and compassion.
I ask myself the simple question: why?
Why have all of these people helped me, when they may not even see the people all around them who are far more in need than me?
Perhaps the answer is simple: because they can. Because they know that it does make a difference when you are able to give, unconditionally, without expecting, or asking for anything in return. Perhaps the fact I am even writing this phrase sums up the conflict within our modern world.
Right now there are thousands of refugees and migrants who are in need. This is not a new fact, but certainly in my lifetime, it has never been so obvious and apparent, especially here in Europe. Life will go on for all of us regardless of whether we help or not, and it will continue for (most of) them as well! We can pretend that it is something we just read about in the news, over a cup of coffee in a coffee shop or we can realise that right now there is a need. There is a silent call for help from those who have voices but cannot be heard. Should we listen?
For me the answer is simple. I have been travelling for over 2 years now, and if I have learned anything, then it is to realise that right now, I can help, and I will help.
Why? Because it’s the right thing to do, and if I don’t, then what sort of human being an I? Have I have learned nothing from all those people who have helped me?
I am eternally grateful for their generosity, kindness and the lesson they have taught me about life: we are all living together, in a world we are slowly destroying. We make excuses on a daily basis, promises that tomorrow I will start to do this and that, to make the changes which I know are necessary, but are so hard. It involves giving up the the comforts I have become accustomed to, or the path which I am following. Perhaps it means a sacrifice for the greater good.
But there are times when we have the ability to do something real, in harmony with those around us, and if we choose to live selflessly, and help those in need when we are able to, the world will be a better place.
And each one of us can help in his or her own way.
And so, as I have been contemplating everything I have been through over the last 2 years, I realise that right now, today, I can make a difference. But it will mean giving up something: the journey I am on. It could be for 2 weeks, or maybe the rest of the year. Who knows.
Of course, the reality is that I am not really giving up anything. I am just taking a rest, because all those places I want to visit and see and experience will still be there (I hope).
But if I do not put myself on the other side, to help those in need, then I know that I will never, ever be able to forgive myself. I have lived my life to avoid ties, to allow myself to travel and follow this dream inside. But that is exactly the reason why I can, and I will help.
And so right now I find myself in Greece, surrounded by the faces of refugees who are searching for a better life. They carry their babies, and their children, their belongings in plastic bags, and they head for a future without fear. Their road is long and uncertain. But WE can make all the difference.
WE can help to ease their burden, and remind them what it means to be human.
WE can stand up for the values that we pretend to live for, and yet which those in power have forgotten.
WE, the people, have the power to remind everyone that Human Rights are the right of everyone.
We must be bold as a European community and begin taking incredible measures to resolve this humanitarian crisis. There is no excuse for any human being to ignore what is happening, and every government must take a hard look at what is REALLY being done.
Only by acting together and for the good of humanity, not individuals, can we resolve this. Let’s fight for a world where the values are peace, harmony and happiness.
Regardless of Faith, Creed, Race and Religion, we have a duty, as human beings, to resolve this situation.
Check out: Are You Syrious? Facebook page.
I just signed the petition, “Heads of EU Member States: Appeal to European Leaders – SAFE PASSAGE NOW.”
I think this is important. Will you sign it too?
Here’s the link: