Think about this for a moment: can you honestly imagine a world without travels? A world without exploring and experiencing? An existence restrained to pathological risk analysis and anxiety for the future? Caught in a society that stakes everything on political games and righteous power struggles?
Can we opt out of the modern existence for a second and have the much needed philosophical conversation? Two things can be true at the same time; we need to control and stop a contagious virus on the loose, and we can’t loose the value and meaning of life in the pursuit of doing so.
When you take on a journey, either far away or close to home, you encounter a different part of our planet, and in part, also a different part of yourself. When you are alien from “your known world”; be that your culture and the place you call home, you have to become more conscious. Because everything is unknown to you. Everything is unfamiliar territory. That can be frightening, and is something our brain must be trained to voluntary pursue – and appreciate.
We are much more unconscious in our safe mundane life. Humans evolved to go about life on autopilot, and it’s a good reason for it. How exhausting wouldn’t life be if we were conscious of everything all the time? All thoughts, all feelings, all smells, all sounds, all of everything. It’s like being a little child. When we are 2 years old everything around us is unknown, except maybe the loved once we grow up with and some part of our home. Everything outside these confines alerts the conscious part of our little brain. No wonder small children need to sleep a lot and cry hysterically in the face of something unknown and terrifying.
It’s probably a good reason why we grow up from our 2 year old existence. In a conscious existence 24/7 we would be so weary that we had not been able to do anything productive or meaningful with our life. And I think it’s safe to say that, evolutionary speaking, we as a species would have deceased.
Nevertheless, it’s an old saying about wisdom; the wise man is the man that finds back to the child in him when he’s aged. I think this has something to do with the relationship between consciousness and unconsciousness, which further connects in great length to the universal wisdom of travel.
If you listen to and are in contact with captivating people, you often see a pattern. They are usually unpredictable in a fascinating way. They suck you into their idiosyncratic way of looking at the world, and give voice to things that would only be possible if you’ve explored, experienced and lived. They’ve went beyond the borders of perceived safety, both physical and mental, and are not easily shaken up by common concerns. They are not afraid to show awe, passion and spirit, and they go about life with a living soul.
What does these people usually have in common? They’ve taken on many journeys, and grasped the universal wisdom of travel.
The universal wisdom of travel is not only about the physical part of travel. The mental aspect, where you force and train yourself to be comfortable with voluntary taking on a trajectory unknown to yourself, bears the fundamental part. When you pursue an unknown trajectory, you push your consciousness to higher levels. In so doing, you explore parts of you that you didn’t know existed, and it can be an unique and profound way of transforming the self.
This kind of transformation will of course go beyond a physical travel aspect. But the reason I grant this an universal wisdom of travel has to do with the fact that when you travel, you confront the very part that make us human beings. We are a product of nature and culture. By going beyond the confines of our own culture, we experience our nature in a different light. When we connect with different cultures, we are also able to perceive the nature we think of as special to us, reflected in others. This is profoundly transforming. In a way, we understand ourselves better, by understanding others better, and by discovering the very common ground that connect us all on this planet.
Isn’t that kind of magical?
So what am I saying here? That everyone needs to live a life filled with travels all over the planet? We know that the modern travel patterns in the Western world are terrible and unsustainable for the planet. And at this current moment in time, our modern travel patterns are probably one of the key reasons the pandemic situation is so dire.
Our habits will change. Our patterns will change. I think we all agree on that. The question is how do we change? How do we change for the better? How do we make sure that we don’t throw away the fundamental aspects of life in a indigent attempt to alleviate fear and anxiety for the future?
The American philosopher, Eric Hoffer, wrote;
“Fear of tomorrow causes us to hold on to what is, while faith in the future sets us on change. Belief in a sacred cause is quite often a surrogate for the faith in ourselves that we have lost.”
We can’t loose faith in ourselves. We can’t loose faith in what constitute the very fabric of our lives as human beings. Metaphorically speaking, travel is the composition of life. It is meaning. It’s pursuit. It’s potential. Either way you use to travel, you are, feel and act alive. You are in the realm of exploration, experience, progress and transcendence beyond imagination. Either you are far away or close to home. Remove that from life, and you don’t have life.