In the life of every traveler there is always a moment where a key question must be asked:
Why do I travel?
Maybe it’s the fact that we, as humans, always have to look for meaning in what we are doing, even if we question our own dreams. Would it actually be acceptable to do this? What´s the actual reason of leaving everything behind, grab a backpack and just go in search of happiness? It is one of those moments where the heart and the brain have one of their greatest battles.
Uncertainty to the unknown, fear of what may happen. Psychological barriers that appear every time we face a major change. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for us, no one knows what fate might put in our path. If we did, no one would risk anything or take their chances. One of the most difficult steps we can take in life is getting out of that comfort zone, that well known world that surround us and venture into the uncharted.
When I was only a child, 6 or 7 years old, I remember waking up crying one night. I couldn´t stop thinking about the outcome of life, my death. Eventually one day I will leave this world behind. Sooner or later, my existence would inevitably end. No one would remember who I was or what I did. I felt that each day that passed was one less day I had left. A countdown that was impossible for me to stop. I was filled with despair and sadness. So for many nights my mother listened and comforted me until I could finally fall asleep.
As the years went by, I understood that my reasoning was wrong. That, in fact, it was the other way around. Life wasn´t about losing days, but winning them. The clock wasn´t going backwards, but forward. I understood that life is made up of moments. Happy moments, sad moments, memorable moments that we will always remember, moments that will quickly pass into oblivion. Among the happiest, I remember the family reunions at Christmas and New Years, the summer holidays in Mar del Sur, in the Argentinian coast, the day I finished high school, when I finally got my degree, or when I decided to travel to Europe for the first time. Among the sad, the day my grandparents died, when my cat followed them, the day that girlfriend did not want to be with me anymore. Luckily for me the scale is heavier in the happy ones.
A life without regrets
A few days ago reading an online newspaper I noticed an article in which an Australian woman, whose job was to care for the terminally ill, had published a book called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying“. Of those five, two caught my attention.
The first one was “I wish I had the courage to live an authentic life for myself, not the life that others expected of me” and the second one was “I wish that I had let myself be happier“. After readind this a thought crossed my mind. We are unique beings, each and everyone. We are born free and we must cherish that freedom every step of the way. We are able to choose. Choose what to do, where and when to do it. We have the power to say “that´s enough“. Let´s stop hiding in the shadows projected by our parents, our partners, our bosses, our religion or society itself. We own the light that makes us shine. Choose what makes YOU truly happy. Don´t resign that power letting others choose your path.
That’s why I travel. To keep on collecting memorable moments, to know other cultures, to escape from my comfort zone, to challenge myself, to lose myself, to find myself, to know other realities, to see with my own eyes the beauty of this world, to show those people who told me it was not possible how wrong they were. I travel, because traveling makes me happy. Because when I get old, and it’s my time to leave, I will be able to look at my grandchildren in the eyes and smiling I will say “I go in peace, I lived the life I wanted and I do not regret anything.”