Travelling… many people are fascinated by this verb-action which entails a world. This morning, after an almost sleepless night, after waking up far too early and carry a backpack half of my weight, I am not so fascinated I have to confess.
This is the reason why I am writing this post, because I was wondering why am I travelling, what drives me, what are the forces that drag me into airports, bus and train stations, carrying heavy weights and never giving up. And what are the important things that must be there in order to make a travel a meaningful experience…
While sending a text message to my host for the days I will be abroad I realised that a good hosting experience is essential to travelling. Not a hotel sort of hosting, but a human sort of hosting, where there is a local person who is waiting for you and wants to contribute to make yours a happy stay. I will be staying with a lady who owns a cat and who works as a social worker. I am already imagining her, the house, her cat, how can I thank her for her hospitality… maybe a dinner… a present is too out of the blue as I don’t even know her…
Travelling is a lot about getting out of the comfort zone, reason why is such a great learning opportunity. Very often just some days before I have to travel I tend to feel like I don’t want to do it. I start to think about all the ‘hardships’ associated to travelling adn feeling a big discomfort: packing (which requires a lot of decision making and planning), waking up early and having a bad night sleep (in my case because I always fear I will not wake up with the alarm clock), carrying heavy stuff, catching a flight and taking long hours to reach a place, leaving familiar places and spaces, being in a place with a different culture and language, and so on. All this can be summarised in the idea of ‘leaving the comfort zone’, meaning ‘leaving home’, and home representing all that is known and familiar.
The risk is that this sort of feelings and thoughts will stop people from travelling. And despite the fact that after moving forward this discomfort many others may succeed the beauty and joy of travelling is in general bigger then the challenging aspects. And who said that important achievements come out of easy experiences? Indeed the challenges associated to travelling are part of the learning process. This is the reason why it is worth to give it a try.
I am actually more scared about being too comfortable in life, so much that it will be impossible to leave this comfort and move and evolve and change. How to keep a balance between comfort and growth is a very important question I would say, one that can be worked out through travelling for instance. Travelling is a good way to get this necessary discomfort in life that will keep life moving, and more importantly will keep us evolving and growing.
C’incontriamo per poi perderci nel tempo.
I discovered this sentence written down in a little frame in my temporary room at my host’s place. I liked it a lot and it represents to me the joy I feel about my travelling experience at this moment. The joy of little gifts that expect who dares to Travel.
While in the morning I was reflecting about the importance of a good hosting experience, I have also realised that the art of “guesting” is equally important. I am not sure whether this word exists, yet I want to mean that a good host also needs a good guest. In this sense being a guest is also an art, the art of “guesting”. Being open to share and to listen, giving ourselves and letting the other to get to know us. And as no meeting happens by chance, all guests have a mission they may want to take as seriously as possible, that is to be who they are and this way make sure they will actually fulfil their role in the life of this person who is hosting them.
On the other hand, sharing a meal, talking about life events and experiences, helps people to feel comfortable with each other, bringing them together in that rather special space that is created when there is empathy and honest dialogue. Eating together brings people together, and before that to prepare together, and still before go shopping for groceries together. And certainly to meet some locals and get to know the local reality through a local’s voice and gaze. Well, how to say it more explicitly: go local!