“You must be crazy! You are not going anywhere. I am telling you!” cried the picture of my panic-struck mom on the PC screen during Skype call.
I did it again. Seeing my mom desperately gazing at me once more, all those moments when I almost brought her to the heart attack came back to me. And I felt guilty. Oh, I did. It’s hardly been 10 months since the last time when I announced I was going to Indonesia for 3 months, to the most conservative Muslim region of the country. But then, I had a boyfriend. Hard as it was, she could deal with it eventually.
This time, I took my adventurousness to wholly new level. Being sure that traveling in group or couple doesn’t move me any further, I decided to go alone. To South America. The land of drug smugglers, human trafficking, and cocaine…
Okay, we both know I am exaggerating here (or as my best friend said “how would you even worry to be kidnapped, nobody wants you anyway).
The thing was that I simply got awfully tired of the society I was raised in. Impacted harshly by 40 years of communist regime, the atmosphere in Slovakia was pretty hopeless. The desperate era of limited freedom and access to power raised a generation of people with no dreams and aspirations, living their everyday life following the few key principles:
- Be nice.
- Never complain.
- Be a well-mannered and good citizen.
- And do not make too much noise.
Well, I disagreed. In my head, I was longing to leave this gray world behind and go away, run across the borders, head somewhere, where people believed in the bright future, where only “to live” was not enough and where every single moment of the life was made to be worth living. Curious and desirous of life, I gradually lived in different countries, traveled across Europe, visited USA, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia, and when my whole family finally thought my desires were fulfilled and I could finally settle down, I proved them wrong. Soooooo wrong.
“No, mom. I am going. I mean it.”
There. The 22-year-old lost soul searching for herself by getting lost, excited about everything that comes in her way, all the opportunities to grow, and even to mess up things terribly. I wanted to laugh and cry, kiss and fight, whisper and shout, sing, jump, dance and live my life to the fullest. Of course, there were people asking: “What if things go wrong?” Well, they could. All I could do was to admit that even falling on your face is a move forward.
All in all, I stuck to my way and decided to hit the road on 8/2/2016. There are still people asking why I would do that. Why I would possibly (for goodness’s sake!) go out from my safe little nest in East Europe to the world where the gap between the wealthy and the poor is bigger than the number of likes on Beyonce’ FB profile, and where your closest friend is a pepper spray you squeeze in your palm in the pocket of your jeans. Well, I will tell you why:
- The world is not black and white. The more you travel, the more perspectives you get. If it is true that as many languages you speak, as many times you are human, then the same works for countries you have visited.
- It teaches you a lecture. I know so many people spending their whole life behind the glass of their cozy comfort zone, not knowing how capable they are and what amazing stuff they can get done. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zones will give you a hard time. But eventually, you will make it. And the world will suddenly become an easier place to live.
- It makes your life worth living. Trust me, once you are old sitting on a bench in front of your house, you want to be sure your life was worth living. You want to sit there and think: “Goddamnit, this life was a hell of a ride.” You have got the chance now. Go out, don’t be scared, make friends, and live. No excuses. The time is now.
I do wish I could come back in 4 months, happy and fulfilled, telling my family and friends who worried that much: “See? I am here! The entire pack alive! With all the body organs on place!”
My invitation for you to be a witness of this road was delivered to your hands. Stay. 🙂