Preface to traveling

Trip Start Dec 17, 2005
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Trip End Jan 17, 2006


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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Preface to Traveling

"Wer an der Küste bleibt, kann keine neuen Ozeane entdecken" Fernando Magellan

(Who stays close to the coast cannot explore new oceans)

What is the reason for traveling? What do we learn from roaming the continents restlessly? Jumping around like fish outside the water. Why don't we stay at home like everyone else? The dictionary describes home as a "place where one lives, especially with one's family." Home, this warm and friendly place. You know every street and corner of your hometown. The peculiar smell of a certain area, the clandestine darkness of the window, that you passed each day when you were a school kid. As you wander around the city aimlessly, you run into someone you know from middle school or kindergarten. You have a chat, reminiscing the old times.

Home is Christmas. Christmas is home. Celebrating Christmas at home. You know the family, the family know you. The air is full of mutual trust and respect, full of vibrant joy, because the Lord is coming. You think about the celebration, remembering all the details, the bohemian decorations on the Christmas tree. A fig tree with real candles, not the electrified junk. Plays of light in the windows. Needles falling down from green decorations. Steaming cinnamon christmas teapots. You recall how you went to church, the play, the happyness, lights and candles everywhere, joy and warmth. Walking home through cold dark alleys, illuminations surrounding you, frozen snow cracking beneath the soles of your shoes. People are friendly. Everybody is full of love. At least once a year, everybody can be happy.

Adventure is pulling me away from home. The attraction of the unknown is much greater than anything. Moreover, I made a promise to a friend. I gave him my word that I would come there and see him. I planned to do this for more than six months. Planning does not mean preparing. I just carried the idea in my head for a long time. I didn't prepare for how I would put it into action. It's like the people who want to write a book and always talk about it but never do it. I think that you really don't need to prepare much for anything in life. Things turn out to be different from the way you imagined them at first. You can thourougly think things through in advance, it won't be so helpful. Maybe it's a waste of energy. Just go. Don't do anything more then the absolutely necessary.

I need to get away from my life. I need to meditate about something. I need to get a clear head. I can't get a clear head here. I have to leave. Go, go, go. Far away. Don't go on a plane. It's not good for me. Go by train. Feel how the ground is moving underneath my feet. Feel that there is a world and how big it is. This world, such a vast shelter from my country and my little unimportant problems. Watching the colors and countrysides go by in the window pane. This is not a screen. It is reality. There's is only one reality. The one that comes to me through my senses. My senses become alive again when I travel. I can already feel it.

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I thought I would go to Georgia on a train. I thought I would go from Stuttgart to Gera, then continue to Prague, Budapest, Sofia, Istanbul, Tbilisi. I gave myself four or five days for the journey. Four or five rough days. Sometimes life is rough. Surely enough you already know about it. I don't have to tell you. No. I'm just a teen, maybe I'm a punk, at least I'm not an adult, yet. So what could I tell you about how rough life is?

A week before I wanted to leave, the whole plan changed. It's like when you go out in the city to get something to eat in a restaurant and on the way you meet a good friend and he takes you to a party where everybody is drinking vodka and eating cucumbers. My friends say, in Russia people drink vodka while eating cucumbers and sniffing each other's hair. That's another story. Anyway, my travel plans were completely turned around. I don't know how to put this. I am not rash to tell those things. We German people hide our feelings when it comes to love talk. Nevertheless, I will try to tell you about it. Her and I, I mean this girl, we sat on one bed together and we were quite sad. (We sat on the bed, because in our dorm there are no sofas.) We had met shortly before. Now we were about to separate again. She would have to go back to her home country soon. China, too far away for a week-end visit. I would have to leave for St.Petersburg, Russia. Both of us would have to continue our university studies. As I told you before I had had the idea of this trip a long time before I even met her. Now I was ready to sacrifice the entire plan in order to be with her. To spend more time with her.

To cut a long story short: we just decided to do this trip together. No planning. the only thing we actually planned was getting a visa for Turkey. we got the visa easily, because the Turkish Consulate is right up the street from where we live in Stuttgart. anything else is to be decided intuitively while traveling. use your senses. not your planning. planning is boring. life is adventure. enjoy our travel diaries...
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