The tears of that one passenger, the sad story of a colleague and the suffering that takes place through natural violence at our destination. Being on the road, meeting people and discovering cultures, it sometimes has a huge impact on your life. In fact, traveling is like life.
Emotions belong to travel: preferably natural joy and happiness, fortunately that is often the case. Because a new world opens up for you and you see beautiful things. These are the well-known pictures from the beautiful advertisements and envy Instagram photos. Are they true? Certainly, at least partially. But what makes traveling equally interesting is the sometimes less beautiful events, the bumps, the emotional side effects. Misfortune, fear and sadness are just as important in life, especially those of a traveller.
The Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen said this about:
"To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live. "
I regularly think back to emotional moments along the way, for work and for private life. Like a businessman, who was on his way from China to Germany. He asked for a drink in a shaky voice and I asked him, "Are you feeling okay?" He turned out to be on his way home, his newborn child had just died. I could not hold back my tears during our conversations on the plane. To hear bad news, far away from your loved ones, is terrible. You want to be home then, and not in that great city or that beautiful resort. That's how I walked through Chicago years ago, when I received a message on my phone. I stopped, in the middle of Millennium Park. I read it again in front of the famous ‘The Bean’. I saw my tear-eyed eyes in the reflection of the steel artwork. A good acquaintance had died, much too young. The hundreds of happy people around me, the clear blue sky and the beautiful buildings; I did not take it anymore. I went back to my hotel room.
The power of emotion won from the beauty of the environment.
Famous last words
Then of course there are those special days: birthdays of partner or children, holidays or days that remind you of adversity from the past. For me today is such a day: exactly four years ago I fought for my life during a shipwreck in Indonesia, together with my girlfriend and other passengers. After swimming for 40 hours and surviving at sea, we were saved by chance. Strangely enough, just before the trip I had an undefined feeling: I double check whether my important administration is right - and easily findable for family if something happens to me. I also find that I need to work on my condition again if I am exhausted during a few laps in the pool. At that time I could not yet suspect that that text would almost be my 'famous last words' about swimming.
In the end, I was glad that I had my administrative affairs in order when I had to call insurance many times. And to get all my lost stuff refunded, because I had saved a lot of purchase orders. Insurance companies hardly pay anymore without proof, so keep it well! Totally unimportant when you fight for your life, but when you have survived, it is very nice.
Celebrate and travel
Today is a day for me to look back, to commemorate the two passengers who were killed. In the news I see the terrible consequences of the earthquakes on Lombok, it was there that I stepped on that boat. Many lives have been taken away by the violence of nature. And tomorrow that happens elsewhere. That is true life. Like you come across to your next destination. Today is also a day for me to look ahead, to keep traveling and to celebrate life - my second life.
I wrote the book Shipwreck in Paradise and give lectures about my experience.
Interested? Follow me on facebook.com/schipbreukinhetparadijs or buy my book / e-book via: https://bit.ly/2OIy4ys
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