The Travel Romance

"The only people for me in life are the crazy ones. The ones who live unbound and let their imaginations soar into the sky." ~ Jack Kerouac

I find it very hard to lie. Even to myself. Why this is the case I do not know as I was brought up around people who comfortably existed in a permanent state of routine driven denial. My parents and teachers all did their best to teach us the value of hard work, to be respectful and good youngsters, and to be modestly frightened of our elders. I was brought up to believe in a Christian fortitude and yet everyone around me lied. Whenever I tried to follow their lead, I was always caught out. Whenever I told the truth, people assumed I was lying. In such, childhood was not an easy experience for me.
Worse than that, I discovered all too early that nobody really cared whether you told the truth or not. The point was, that you painted an appealing picture. If the picture was pretty, if smiles were on faces, nobody really cared if you were lying or not.

In such, I think I developed some kind of inability to be deceitful. I was so bewildered and lost in this quagmire of lies and rules growing up that at a certain point I decided the only way I could figure out who I was and what I wanted and what life was really all about was to tell the truth (or at least my version of the truth when we are speaking of things without empirical evidence). And also then listen to the truth of others. Honesty. Flat out honesty. That became my goal for life. I decided that no matter where I went or what bad decisions I made in life that would be the one thing I had going for me. I would be the girl who always told the truth (and I will admit that learning to be tactful with the truth came later).

Now, here are some things I know to be true...

Nothing relies on chance.

Nothing relies on coincidence.

Life doesn’t just happen.

I know this because it has been told to me by people much older, much wiser and much more of this Universe than I can ever hope to be. And if you want to know this too, then try this. Go to any place that there is a history. A place that is quiet, like a museum, library or an old forest. And just stop. Centre yourself. Close your eyes and listen. Do this for a long period of time. Really meditate. Ask questions and allow the answers to come to you like whispers. Find that place inside of you that is the truest version of you. And listen. Hold your breathe. Hear how still it is. This silence is the sound of nothingness and everything combined. It is a silent roar of people coming and going now, and people that have come and gone in the past. It is the ripple and hum of energy manipulating the environment. It is physics. It is spiritual. It is the past, present, future and life on another Universal plane. The sound is soothing. Like the wash of the ocean. And you are a part of that silence. And the truth is, that you could make nothing of it. You could be nothing. You could live a life of lies and nothingness and deny the world's possibilities. Or you could sit in that silence and listen. Listen to your calling. And go out and live it. Whatever that may be.

I regularly sit or walk in this state of contemplation just trying to find my way in routine that is often just day to day basic survival, and I have come to realise that life without passion is not one worth living. Therefore life without travel, music, stories to read and to tell, people to love and love in itself is one not worth living at all! Without these things, life is nothingness.

So, as the emotional, passionate, open, lunatic that I often am, I tend to take this passion for life I have out into the world, shouting my thoughts into the wind, scaring some people, most often meeting kindred spirits, and falling in love all over the place. This is the art of the Travel Romance.

When I travel to a new town or city, I see a wonderful city. Built in a way that is intrinsically guiding and therefore one can never get lost in. There are times, for example in winter when the sky is baby blue and the buildings glisten with frost and the sunlight is so rich that even grimy London can look beautiful. Paris is seductive in the rain. Amsterdam resembles an old fashioned Christmas card in the snow. New York reminds me of shots of documentary photography certain lights. Zurich is Narnia.

There are countries I travel to where the smells and colours and personalities of people are so rich it feels like everywhere is bursting with prosperity and music, even travelling through Morocco where poverty is so extreme children walk barefoot 10 miles in searing heat to their school.

All these places follow a grid. Much like life does. And if you follow this grid, even when you feel lost, if you just keep going you cannot go far wrong. Love is the common ground we walk on. Adventure is the distance we go. All routes lead back to home.

Travelling makes you think this way. Roads come together and cross and history and future follows them. The same things happen with people. It makes you believe that some things were meant to happen. Beethoven was meant to go deaf or his music would never have been so ardently heard. Macintosh was meant to have invented the raincoat. William Ernest Henely was meant to write the words ‘I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.’

And so I find myself meeting soul mates. I find myself loving children all over Europe that are not mine like they are my own, giving them everything I can bear to impart for the nurturing of their delicate intelligent spirits. I find myself in cafes in different parts of the World having long and heated and common discussions about religion, families, and what happened the previous night on Grey’s Anatomy.  I find myself often struggling, tired, doing what I must to survive but battling through knowing this is the path that will lead me to my truest self. I continue to do what the silence wills me to, to do what I love most in life through travel, relationships, music and the telling and sharing or stories, always telling the truth, at least to myself if someone else is not ready to hear it. And by doing this I feel I can breathe. I can see others growing and breathing as they do the same. Leading me towards a good life and the creation of an enlightened society, as I hope I lead others, the youngsters in my work teaching and caring for them.

The understanding that life can be just this romantic and thrilling and brutally honest can be overwhelming some days. And some days I do totally shut down out of fear. But I like to think I can mostly handle this constant seduction. Moving from what is sensibly and probably considered by those in denial one unhealthy relationship to the next with cities, and jobs and people. But which allow me to grow anyway. And as I said, to breathe.

The universe is inside of us. No matter where you are in the world,  or who you are compared to me, we are treading the same paths, but uniquely. It may be difficult to believe me. It took a long time for me to believe myself. And that is ok. If you listen, the truth will come. You may shout it from the rooftops, or write it down for someone to find later, or paint it on a canvas or sing it in a song but the truth is waiting. Unless you are in denial. Then, the silence is likely to be noisy and inaccurate.

Your dreams cannot come true unless you wake up.

The Rules For Being Amazing: “Risk more than is required. Learn more than is normal. Be strong. Show courage. Breathe. Excel. LOVE. Lead. Speak your truth. Live your VALUES. Laugh. CRY. Innovate. Simplify. Adore mastery. Release mediocrity. Aim for genius. Stay humble. Be kinder than is expected. Deliver more than is needed. Exude PASSION. Shatter your limits. Transcend your fears. INSPIRE others. Dream BIG but start small. Act NOW. Don’t stop. CHANGE THE WORLD.”
~Robin Sharma


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