I’m living on the other side of the world and even though there are many things that are different from Europe, at the same time so much is the same. I suppose when you get used to something, only the extraordinary stands out. And the more you travel, the more people you meet and talk to, the more you realise that the people are so similar – wherever in the world you are.
I’ve noticed something interesting about stereotypes: most of the people who fall into the “stereotypical” category for a particular nationality have something in common. They are usually the individuals who are annoying in one way or another. They are either too rude, or too loud, or drink too much or are too stingy… whatever it is, there’s TOO MUCH of it. And they’re not just annoying the locals of the foreign country they’re visiting, they’re embarrassing the people from their own country if they happen to be nearby. So it’s not suprising that stereotypes are usually wrong – the “stereotypical” people for any country are the type of people we all avoid back home!
But when you think about it, there aren’t that many “stereotypical” people in the world. They are simply the ones who shout the loudest, and can sometimes make you lose sight of the others who quietly blend in. There are so many beautiful people everywhere. Simple, warm and open. And it doesn’t matter where or how you meet them – whether you’re walking through a muddy field in the UK with your hiking boots on, or sitting on a crowded bus in the middle of Bangkok’s traffic – the nice people are nice everywhere.
I like travelling slowly. Slower than you can imagine. I like “travelling” even in my own hometown and finding the little extraordinary things amongst everything that looks ordinary and familiar. I need a home to enjoy travelling. And I noticed that Vidmantas and myself can make a home anywhere, really, and it will be just as cosy and nice to return to. But we need time. Enough time in one place. Enough time to observe what’s going on around us, to soak it in and to learn from it. Enough time for us to create a space where we can recharge ourselves, so that we would have the energy to learn and grow as people. Enough time to sort out the outside world to such an extent that we could finally focus on our inner growth.
I still love travelling to faraway places, exploring with only the most important things in my backpack, but I can’t do it for too long. I guess it’s similar to spending time with other people. It’s lovely and it gets me excited, but then I need time on my own to recharge.
When we moved to Thailand everything was new and exciting, nothing was certain, and it was a ridiculously stressful but an incredible experience at the same time. But it drained our energy. The growing and learning had pretty much stopped as we were just taking in new images and sounds rather than learning about them.
But then we settled down in one place for a while. And suddenly everything fell into its place. We had a home and we could finally explore our surroundings the way we like it: little by little. Slowly. Taking everything in. Because when you stop running and pause for a little bit, EVERY thing becomes special.
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,