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Another Horizon

Trying to throw your arms around the world.

INDIA | Monday, 11 July 2016 | Views [814]

I haven’t written for a while, probably too long, but I recently felt the need to commit some thoughts to paper, or electronic file at least.

With all of the upheaval and division we hear about these days it seems easy to see the world as a dark place and draw inward to our own ‘tribe’, or even, into ourselves. And that seems to be happening more and more. At least according to the media but that’s another issue I guess. 

Now I can’t say I’m an expert on people; on interracial, interreligious or international relations:  Not at all.  But I am someone who, some would say, squandered, most of my 20s (and most of the money I earned in that period) travelling. I was lucky to travel to over 40 countries over the course of about 18 months on different trips and placements, most of them alone, in the hopes of experiencing them and understanding something about the world: Basically throwing myself into the arms of humanity with a lot of faith. Not necessarily in any religious sense, but in the sense that if I approached others with openness and a feeling of oneness I would be treated in kind.    On one trip I travelled all the way through Eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East into Asia. Some people thought I was nuts and probably still do, but there you have it. 

I’m a little older now, my goals have changed and some of the memories are not as fresh as they used to be.  I’m not as immersed in the intensity of that travelling throng as I once was.  If I’m honest the more I sit on the couch or stare at headlines on my phone, sadly I have lost a little of that optimism. And, probably like many others out there, I catch myself feeling quite downcast about the state of the world and people’s treatment of each other.

But in hindsight, my faith in humanity never let me down.  From the dusty streets of post revolution Cairo to old Bethlehem on the west bank and amongst the holy men and beggars in Varanasi, I walked alone, but was never far from a friend. I looked people in the eye and had optimism in my heart. Sure, not everyone is a saint but you know what?  I never had any problems and 99% of those I met were great and responded in good spirit. I estimate I met many hundreds of people, some just to say Namaste, Al Salaam Alaykum or equivalent, some for a cup of tea or a smoke and at times I was even treated as a lost son.  Some kind of distant cousin from a place they’d only heard of in some vague way, if at all.  And I learned I think, that at our core we are the same and essentially more or less want the same in life: Love, respect, peace, and enough to get by and raise a family to share our lives with. 

I heard something good recently from a colleague of Barack Obama.  No matter your politics you can take a moment to consider this idea. Despite our differences, and they are often many on the surface, we should consciously try to recognise something of ourselves in others. Then it becomes so much easier to understand each other and to get along in harmony.

I’m not saying it’s easy, as time goes by and memories of my travelling days fade I find myself worn down by tiredness, disagreeable people and sometimes a short temper, but I think this is perhaps one of the main battles in life. And, if we can each try to do this…if we can give a little understanding, people open up in response and you know, the world may even be a better place than it is.  And I think despite all the bad news, it is actually still a good place full of good people. 

Tags: eastern europe, friends, india, middle east, nepal, solo, solo travel

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