Travelling: a way of living
Life is a journey. True, but there are as many ways of travelling as of living. Therefore it is more interesting to describe how you want to travel, than if you want to travel. I live and travel by opening my senses to all life-experiences I choose on my path, consciously or subconsciously. When I travel, I fully experience everything that attracts my attention and what interests me. I get in touch with strangers, with other cultures, with other ways of thinking, with other visions, with the living conditions in these places and I learn. I travel by learning languages, by meeting people and by making friends. Travelling, and living life as a traveller, inspires my personal development.
Every continent, every region, every country and each culture possesses a piece of the puzzle, and the whole puzzle put together, is the universal truth. When I travel, I collect these pieces of the universal puzzle, which in fact are cultural identities, or original cultural truths. I recognize them and I feel connected to them, because these cultural identities are a part of the universal truth. By experiencing other cultures while travelling, I become aware of more and more elements of my personal identity. This way, I enrich my personal culture by travelling.
Essential to the world is that every nation maintains and protects its own culture. Every nation received its own share of the divine message. Without their share, our world would not be complete. A culture may grow, it can develop in all kinds of directions, but it should never loose the relation to its essence. Because if it would, the world would loose a part of the universal truth. But what is this essence? Its originality is the essence. Every nation should stay connected to its origins.
I learn from each encounter, from each culture I witness, and from every conversation I have. My self-knowledge grows, while integrating other cultures’ original truths into my consciousness, on the condition that I understand them and that I feel they are pieces of wisdom. Because I’ve travelled this way for two and a half years, not counting my trips through Europe, my personal culture is not entirely European, Dutch nor from Brabant (my province) any longer.
But I do more than just receiving, inhaling and learning when I’m travelling. If people allow me, I share my love, give my attention, share my knowledge and insights, and talk about the surprising aspects of the country I’m travelling in. I reflect upon my own culture and the globalization with the local people, and I offer someone whom I can relate to, a view inside my life and inside my personality. I look for what I can share with whom, so that it will be an appropriate contribution to the moment we share. I try to have contacts that are respectful, equal, balanced, open and honest.
I’m not only focussed on people and cultures. I also enjoy fully the splendid beauty of nature I see in so many places, even in the Netherlands. Nature has no frontiers and it is not interested in its nationality. Nature tries to fill you with energy and peace, where the city often tries to take away your energy. I noticed that if you don’t wash your hair for some time, while being in the countryside, your hair cleans itself. In most cities the auto-hair wash program doesn’t work because of pollution. Sometimes I wonder why I’m living in the city, while nature is so pure, clean, energizing and healing. In nature you hardly need any people around, but the people you do meet far away from the inhabited world, I often find very interesting. But on the other hand, the city offers a lot of variety, which appeals to me too.
With my spiritual philosophy, essentialism I try to inspire people in the modernized parts of the world to reconnect their culture to nature and to open their soul connection to the divine Source of existence. Let’s become conscious again of the fact that we are part of nature. Let’s stop denying our true nature. Let’s respect life. To the aboriginal cultures I would say: cherish your roots and be proud of them.
I love the Third World. There I often feel more at home than in the Netherlands. Why? Because people who live in economically poor countries, live much closer to nature. The more primitive their living standards are, the tighter their connection to nature, to their gods and to each other. These people are generally much more open to each other and to me, than people in my own culture. They are much closer connected to their feelings and I love this purity. The First World can learn a lot from them, but hardly anyone acknowledges it.
I’m always hoping the globalization of materialism, which comes in a package-deal including mental and spiritual poverty, doesn’t find acceptance in the Third World. Hopefully they’ll get self-wise quickly enough, so they see that the First World is more like a nightmare, than a wished for future. I hope poor countries won’t sell their soul to materialistic progress. I hope they maintain some of their cultural authenticity, in spite of all the seductions and bad advice that the First World exports to their countries. I hope they’ll find their own transitional path, from the accumulated wealth in the bank-accounts of a small number of people, towards a situation of shared wealth. I hope the internationally supported, economy-based, corrupt politics in the Third World will one day be put aside by a greater unifying force amongst the people, so wiser politicians will start promoting the well-being of all citizens.
When I was 20 years old, I started to travel the world outside of Europe:
1) My first travel started in July of the year 1994. It would take a year and two weeks. After doing Environmental Studies for one year in Utrecht, I went travelling with my ex-girlfriend. Everyone said we would be back within a month, but we weren’t. We travelled together for more than six months and after splitting up in Australia, I discovered the beauty of Asia alone.
France (working), Spain (working), Australia (working and travelling the East-coast), Singapore, Malaysia (West-coast), Indonesia (2 months through Sumatra, Java, Bali and Lombok), Brunei, Thailand (South), Vietnam, China, by Trans-Siberian Express in six days from Peking to Moscow, Russia and from Saint Petersburg flying back to the Netherlands.
2) In 1999 for 2 months I visited the Northeast of Brazil, with a half-Brazilian schoolmate of mine. We visited his family and I travelled alone between Fortaleza and Salvador de Bahía.
3) My third journey took place in the year 2000, when I travelled for 10 months through Latin-America with my great love at that time, Marieke:
Southeast-Brazil (between Rio de Janeiro and Foz do Iguaçu), Argentina (not further South than Buenos Aires and towards the Northeast), Chilli (North), Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, by motorized canoes along the Rio Napo to Iquitos, Peru, by boat along the Amazon river to Manaus, Brazil, through Guyana to the Caribbean Coast, to Surinam, by plane to Venezuela (four days in Caracas), flying to Cuba (hitch-hiking from Havana to Santiago de Cuba), flying to Costa Rica, overland through Central-America, visiting Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico (South).
4) In 2002/2003 I went to Ecuador for 7 months to do a research, concluding my Latin-American Studies. In the country’s third-biggest city, Cuenca, I studied the social and economical impact of the dollarisation of Ecuador. Regretfully there is no English version of my thesis. After my 5½ month research, I travelled for 6 weeks through Ecuador and the North of Peru.
5) Between April 2010 and May 2011 I've been travelling through Africa, From South to North using public transport. I started the journey in Capetown South-Africa
I would love to make a big journey through Africa and I will. For now I think in the following order: Egypt, Sudan (East), Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South-Africa, Botswana, Angola, Dem. Rep. of Congo, Rep. Of Congo, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Algeria, Morocco.
After that I want to travel through Russia, China, Tibet, Nepal, and India, travelling back through the Middle-East, visiting Iran, Syria, Jordania and Turkey.
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