Writings

travelling


Since I was very young my heart dreamt of travelling. At the time it was a still sort of a rare treat to be able to go abroad so it really felt like a big thing to do.
travelling
I took my first trip with my parents in the late seventies to the then exotic destination of Gran canarias. We prepared incessantly for the trip, got vaccinated for all kinds of spanish bacteria, bought new luggage and stocked up on hard bread, Kalles kaviar and swedish coffee in case the one provided by the spaniards would in some way be too foreign to digest for our delicate stomachs. The trip was a disaster, what was supposed to be a lovely christmas break became a nightmare in all things foreign. The whole island was on strike so no restaurants or shops were open. On christmas eve, my father had a kidney stone attack so we spent the night in the hospital, where the doctor suspicious of whether my father's pain was sincere or if he just wanted to have a little christmas treat of morphin, decided to hit him straight over the kidneys with a club, so my greatest christmas surprise that year was to see my father literally jump to the roof from the prone position. When we finally got to the airport, more than ready go home, the workers there were also on strike so we got stuck for what felt like an infinity of time in the Las Palmas airport with a gang of very drunken loud Swedes, and to top it all off, when we thought we had reached the safety of Swedish soil the doors of the plane got stuck because of the snow...so, that first travelling experience was on paper not exactly perfect.
But to me it still was exciting. The plane ride, the feeling of exotism, the strangeness of it all and I did feel slightly comforted by the not knowing, it very much resonated with all the question marks in my mind. Feeling out of place was not news to me since I had always felt it in the blue eyed environment of my childhood, so being an authentic foreigner was strangely comforting I suppose.

I subsequently took up travelling as a kind of lifestyle. Worked all kinds of odd jobs in order to finance my trips, went on a trip to Mallorca with my friends at 16, where I was introduced to the 5 litre cocktail and mild alcohol poisoning. Went interailing in Europe the year after and got so caught by the travelling bug that I decided that a life lived on the road, was a life well lived, and even now, when I actually feel settled by living in the same place for 5 years and have no plans to leave, I still can't help to think of it a bit like a very long transition. So much to see so much to do.

There is something important to be learnt from travelling, especially when going alone and with no agenda other than a time frame and a port of call. It's like a short episode of freedom, like a little taste of what you would be like without your story and your settings. A chance to free your inner adventurer, your closet explorer, experience yourself beyond what you've always known and experiment with life in ways you wouldn't normally, in the safety of your own language and culture. It expands you. New tastes, sights and music. New kinds of people, new rules and new ways of breaking them..., it wakes you up from the cocoon of your comfort zone, questions what you percieve be truth and keeps your mind and heart preserved in that state of youthful curiosity that all the practicalities of bureaucratic reality tend to dull. It's a learning experience that no theoretical knowledge can ever replace.
It should almost be mandatory that all kids before going off to college or choosing career, take a year to go travelling solo as part of their education. Discover and uncover new sides of themselves that may otherwise drown in the complacency of familiarity. So they have just a little more information of who they are before they have to make those important choices.
I haven't been out travelling for 5 years now and although it's actually incredibly nice to be here, both literally and metaphorically, I still get a little flutter of excitement in the stomach, a little pull of nomadic longing when I see documentaries or posts online about wild and human life in places far away. I guess once the call of the road has been awakened it never really dies. I'm curious how it will be now, with Iomi. Am curious to see it with her fresh eyes since mine and Igor's are already conditioned by experience. But now, I will always be happy to return. To have a place called home as an anchor, a bit like meditation, to keep coming back to basics.

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