What is it about travelling that makes you feel whole?
I come from a relatively small town. Large enough to have all the necessities that suburban life would wish to offer you in the major cities, but small enough that most people you meet are somehow interlinked to another person or family that you might know. The dangerous part lying in ensuring that you never say the wrong thing to the wrong person, but close enough that you always manage to make new acquaintances through word of mouth.
Yes, I enjoy this town that I live in.
But the biggest downfall for an ever-searching mind is the tunnel vision that starts setting in after a while – being so close but yet so far from the beauty that life can offer. And many times settling for so much less than what life can offer because you become so set in ways which are familiar.
A cycle which I try to both avoid and break free from when I get in my car, a plane or even sometimes being sucked into a book that makes me feel alive again.
I stepped off the plane in Venice two weeks ago. God forbid I promised myself I would never travel to Venice by myself – who wants to drift along those beautiful canals of Venice on a gondola all by yourself (which after my trip I realised is way over-rated – all those tourists sitting back-to-back on those gondolas paying their 80 euros to miss so many of the sites that the city has to offer on foot).
The beauty of walking through San Marco square might be a sight to behold, but there are many other places in Venice that got me convinced that I will find myself back in the city without cars. And please prepare yourself for numerous long walks along canals, over bridges and numerous interesting Italians.
Walking through the local markets I got thrilled by the smell of spices in the morning, indulged in local fruit and vegetables and feast my eyes on the culinary expertise of the local vendors selling their produce for the day. It is there that I realised my absolute lack in knowledge of being able to make food the way the Italians do. Where in my small town (not even remote close to an ocean) can I learn how to prepare a feast of oceanic dishes. Here they sell them as if every local artisan.
The one thing I’ve always hated doing, is travelling in groups of tourists. My idea of travelling revolves around wandering about for kilometers on my own, stopping at local shops, bars and exhibitions – talking to the locals and experiencing their drinks and cuisines as the locals will do. Yes, of course you do the necessary stops at the Colosseum and the Vatican city, but it’s in indulging in the home-made Italian pizzeria that is found in some alley way that makes the meal something to enjoy.
I feel fulfilled when seeing that I actually know nothing.
It might even make me a bit depressed coming back to the normal routine of the grind.
But I am already planning the next trip to make sure that I always know that there is more to life than what I am currently living.