What is freedom and where to find it?
A year ago I was on the way home. To Slovakia. Saying goodbye to my mother holding the tears in the back of my throat. My fantastic mum who was scared for us but never tried to talk us out of it. It was so real suddenly. Tom was in London packing everything, putting stuff into three piles. To sell, to keep and to take with us. It was here, I was nervous and sad too, bearing in mind all the friends and family we’re leaving at home.
We left everything (and everybody) behind to be free. To break free from busy lifestyle in London, from all the “musts”, “immediately”, “deadline is tomorrow”. The deadline for the freedom was yesterday. It was expected we finish our training, settle down somewhere, maybe marriage and a child. But we imagined if we got on this train, when would the next station be? Mortgage won’t go anywhere, you have to pay it from somewhere. So we would ride and ride and get older and sadder and suffocate slowly.
Breath in and a plan. “What are you going to do?” “And you’re taking your dogs? Oh, just don’t be silly.” How many times did we hear it?
You don’t be silly! You, society that has to do all the tickboxing before letting herself live the life. Hope you don’t miss us.
For a year I haven’t had any make-up on, for a year I’ve been rotating two T-shirts and two shorts. Tom has looked like Robinson Crusoe from time to time. You would give him a fiver (remember this as we may need it later :D). Dirt and sweat. Pain. Those are the things that form a human being truly and not only his muscles. And those are the things that you forget about first when you look back at your journey.
Longterm travel as we understand it and that we think everybody should experience, is not the one you need lot of money for. It isn’t the resorts, expensive destinations and luxurious restaurants. It’ s the fall for dreamy world of fancy hashtags back to planet Earth into the world of locals. It’s using your own legs to transport from one place to another and the back scratched from the backpack (it will also teach you what’s important in that backpack and what isn’t). It’s hours spent on the toilet after you enjoyed one of the local specialties. Showering in icy cold water. Sky full of stars in pitch darkness that you can see through your mosquito net on the tent. Different kinds of insects you share accommodations with. Pictures from the real life happening on the “boring” road in between all the cool destinations.
And so I learned to see beauty in the rain drops. In the mist that shows only parts of the mountain but never reveals all of it at once. In my own wrinkles from the sun. In the eyelashes you can’t see. I learned to feel all the tastes of the world in one pot dinner. In the coffee without milk. In the hundred different kinds of porridge. Because only during longterm travel you’ve got a chance to enjoy these things. You don’t have rush after the best, most beautiful, most delicious and coolest because you don’t have only two weeks but you have the most important thing. You’ve got time…
Freedom is to wake up in the morning alongside my three best friends and not to jump out of the tent and run… anywhere (be careful, this freedom ends where the tropics start because there you wake up before the sunrise and run away from the mosquitos). Freedom is to sit on the bicycle in Canada and head north on the way to Argentina. Freedom is not to have a deadline when to arrive in Ushuaia. Freedom is to stick out the thumb and hitchhike when you’re tired, bike’s broken or the section of the road is boring as hell (because you can end up losing your freedom when you give yourself stupid rules like never using other means of transport). Freedom is to be able to take 6-month break from your travels when the opportunity arises. Freedom is to have time…
And what happens when you realise all of this? A short film projects in your head how you won’t finish your training and publish in good impact factor journals, you won’t have a big house with a garden, successful husband and three children studying at prestigious universities. The main danger of the longterm travel is this one in my opinion. That you realise these things don’t really matter. That a happy life is not built on them. Then you found your freedom…