Rather than live my life by any particular religious doctrine or political theory, I find myself a subscriber to the Moulin Rouge philosophy. That is, living a life in accordance to these four principles: Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and above all things, Love. While these four things can be found anywhere, you still at times have to go looking for them. I find them most oftentimes in three places.
These are places where connections are made and bonds are formed. Doesn’t matter if it’s a five-minute conversation with a stranger, or a five-hour conversation with a close friend. Cafes are the place where, to my eyes, humanity is most easily found. With a twinkle of the eyes or a shared laugh over a cup of tea, people come together, and what really is more important than that? But as President Obama likes to say, let me be clear. When I say cafes I don’t mean Starbucks. I mean little establishments that thrive on bringing people together, more than putting stores on every corner of every street. Because after all, a cafe should, like your heart, be chain free.
Like anyone, I absolutely love a good story! It doesn’t matter if it’s in novel form like Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” or in film format like Richard Linklater’s eternal “Before Sunrise.” I love a story, whether based entirely in fact or just in concept. I love the way books make you long to travel, the way movies make you reevaluate life. Some of my favorite of the former include Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” Alexandre Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Cristo,” Italo Calvino’s “If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler,” Milan Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” and more recent classics like Martin Booth’s “A Very Private Gentleman,” and Ian McEwan’s “Atonement.”
As for films, my taste trends toward the International. Pedro Almodovar’s amazing “Talk to Her” and “Broken Embraces,” to the breathtaking Argentinean film “The Secret in their Eyes.” It’s amazing how film can tell you so much about “The Lives of Others.” We are better off because of this medium.
We have all no doubt heard the expression, “stop and smell the roses.” Another way of saying this would be to slow down and take a look at life around you. Like most, I’d heard this expression seemingly before I could remember, before I could really understand what it meant. Now, in 2013 I know what it is to stop and take in the view. Life all around us moves so fast, constantly in transit, the train waiting to whisk us away. It will whether we want it to or not so better to enjoy the journey! I first wanted to do a travel blog in 2007, after returning from a summer trip to Prague. My first flight from the country of my upbringing so changed me that it was impossible to simply go home afterwards and resume any semblance of a normal life. That this was the first real trip of any sort that I’d embarked on only accentuated the details and life I found in Europe while I was there. The world outside my own changed me, and I have no desire to go back to a pre-Prague mentality.
The definition of wanderlust is “ a very strong or irresistible impulse to travel.” While this certainly embodies my desires it is perhaps another German word that truly defines what I feel: Fernweh. Fernweh translates as “an ache for the distance” or “far sickness.” It is precisely this ache that leaves us travelers so eager to move, so desirous of motion. The term “homesick” is one we’re all familiar with and have likely all felt before, but it is this “far-sickness” that truly distinguishes the passionate traveler from the rest. Wanderlusting is about more than expressing occasional symptoms of the travel bug, rather it is about recognizing the enormous importance of travel to ourselves and to the societies around us.
Traveling is best represented by the weathered crossroad sign at the end of a long barren road. One hand points west, another east and dozens more in various other directions. To travel is to search. Search for what you might ask? Whatever it is you’re looking for. Traveling is the only remedy for a lost world in which we are all searching for our missing piece; the missing photograph that we need to complete the album. Traveling is the search for happiness, the search for life and the search for love. Through meeting other travelers and conversing with locals we all hope to gain that which we are missing, the understanding that will make us wiser and the empathy which will make us more human. It is my hope that even if no one else reads these words, that the creation of this “life-blog” will indeed be a step towards making my own life a better one- one in which the lessons I learn away from home are reflected in the memories I take back to it.