Travelling for the Moment – Luke

Travel is something which can inspire many emotions.

You might catch your breath as you round a corner to see a sweeping mountainous vista, ocean glittering in the sunlight. You might visit a small village and laugh as the local children play rambunctiously, demanding your attention, or hide behind their mother’s skirts, only to be coaxed out, shyly smiling, as you take their photo and show it to them on your camera. Or you might be solemnly stunned by war and genocide museums, by the images and stories that detail the depths to which humanity can sink, and realise that you will never, ever be able to comprehend the horror and atrocities some people have had to live through. You might get somewhere and find it’s not at all what you expected – happily, or disappointingly. You’ll meet people who will become life-long friends, and make your experience even better than it otherwise would have been. You’ll meet some people to whom you look forward to saying goodbye.

Through all this, there’s emotional modifiers working for and against you. You pick up a bad stomach bug. A stranger sees you in need and gives you a helping hand, taking them well out of their way, and asks for nothing in return. You have to take some uncomfortable overnight transport, and arrive at your destination tired, sore, and grumpy. You bump in to people you’ve met previously while travelling, and have a great time catching up with them. You have to lug your heavy backpacks in the hot sun trying to locate accommodation in a busy city. Somehow, all your travel plans line up beautifully, you never put a foot wrong, everything runs on time and you even arrive at your destination early. Or the complete opposite happens. But the delay means you end up finding a cosy little coffee shop with amazing dรฉcor and friendly staff that you otherwise never would have had the chance to enjoy.

The longer you travel, the easier it is to shrug off the bad and enjoy the good. Everything is part of the overall experience, and every experience is worth something, even if it’s just a story to tell, or some perspective on how things could be worse.

One of my favourite emotions to have while traveling is what I call “the moment”.

After you have spent so much physical and mental energy in getting to somewhere new, finding where you’re staying, and sorting everything out, you finally arrive at the point where you have nothing to think about except what you want to do next. You’re completely free. Those are the moments where I find myself sitting at a cafรฉ, walking down a cobblestone street in the sun, sitting by a beautiful lake or even rugged up in a tent while it lashes down with rain – and the realisation suddenly hits me. “Wow. I am actually here. Travelling, in this country, on the other side of the world. This is AWESOME!”

Travel is one of the few things that can provide you with that kind of moment. There are many reasons to go travelling, and having those moments is high up on the list. ๐Ÿ™‚

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11 thoughts on “Travelling for the Moment – Luke

  1. A wonderful depiction of travel Luke. As you say, you can travel to destinations that are culturally different to where you live and have many ‘wow’ moments, but even traveling within Australia can give you those moments of absolute freedom where you only have to think about “what would I like to do today, or right now for the next 30 minutes?” We may get to the end of life’s journey and think “gee, I don’t have many possessions to show for all those years on the planet, I don’t have a big house and 3 investment properties and a swag of shares, but hang on, would I want to trade all those “moments” for a swag of possessions? I guess it’s a catch 22 whereby wealth affords you experiences, but on the other hand it can simply afford you a lot of debt and sleepless nights too.

    I think when I get to the end of the journey I’d like to reflect and laugh about those sleepless nights spent on an uncomfortably hot bus with a few local chickens and goats, or (in your case) a sleepless night spent on the plains of Africa worrying about whether a rhino or a big cat were going to drop by – than a sleepless night spent tossing and turning in my bed worrying about debt ๐Ÿ™‚

    Life’s too short.

    • So true. It certainly seems, sometimes, as though life is a balance between money and time. The harder you work the more money you have but the less time in which to enjoy it, but less work means less money with which to get to exotic places etc.
      I’ve been enjoying this blog so much I’d like to keep it going by doing smaller things once we get home so I’ve still got something to write about – and as you say, there’s plenty to do at home. I’ve barely seen any of Victoria, really, so there’s a whole lot of exploring to do right there. Now we’re a bit more confident with camping we can do it on the cheap too!
      How about you – travel plans for the future?

    • Different things make different people happy – if you enjoy owning those three investment properties, then more power to ya. But like you, I’d prefer to spend my money racking up experiences rather than possessions. And as you say, you don’t necessarily have to leave your own country to have great travel experiences. You just have to have the desire to travel. That said, there are certainly cheaper places than Australia if you want to travel for an extended period – I think it would be relatively easy to save up enough to spend a very long time in south-east Asia. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Luke, loved the emotion in your beautifully written observations … the depth of feeling bought a tear to my eye. May you continue to be amazed, inspired and humbled by the wonders of your experiences. xxoo

  3. Pingback: A week in Granada (or, a reminder of what I love about travelling) | Follow The Open Road

  4. Nice entry ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love that too and part of wanting to keep a personal journal on my trips has been to record those moments. Often for me they involve people as well as places. As much as it’s nice to compare notes on where you’ve been and where you’re going, sometimes I find that a bit exhausting and I just love those moments where you end up in a conversation or situation with fellow travelers which gets beyond the superficial stuff or involves the silliness that seems to come about from being away your normal life.

    Some of my favourites have been:
    – sitting next to a river in Beijing watching the lights reflecting on the water and shooting the breeze with people we’d met on the trans-mongolian
    – spending many hours on fraser island with my sister and this pommy guy debating the merits of particular musicians; goon-fueled power ballads with the 2 of them at camp that night
    – the night in Quito where I got back from the Amazon miserable because my entire pack was soaked and several people in the hostel bar just adopted me and fed me wine and listened to my tales of woe about the guy I was meant to be meeting there who couldn’t make it
    -Jess & Tash’s terrible, terrible rendition of Hakuna Matata whilst washing up in the Mara, followed by a version of Bohemian Rhapsody which would have had Freddie turning in his grave

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