How has travel changed our vision of the world and ourselves? What have we learnt along the way?
We have been travelling for a while now and we would like to share with you a few points that we feel made a lot of difference to the journey.
We used to plan ahead way too much, using the “must-sees” from the different guide books. They are a good guideline to help you prepare your trip but in the end we found that it diverted us from making our personal opinions and having our unique experiences. We were also too ambitious with the programmes we set ourselves. We ended up running a lot to cover as much ground as we could, not to miss anything! We would take quick pictures of the highlights of each region and then say “we’ve done it! What’s next?”.
We realise now that we have missed a lot by travelling this way, and the reason is mainly because we didn’t take the time to appreciate things the way they really are.
Our big eye opener was when we arrived in French Polynesia. In this place time doesn’t just stand still, it sits in the sun wiggling its toes in the lagoon. People live by the day and don’t worry about the past or future. We liked it so much that we ended up staying there 8 years! I was put in my place quite a few times by locals before I understood. “You talk too much” they said “sit down, relax and enjoy your beer”. It’s true I was always jumping around to do this and that, help here and there, go fishing, surfing… I never stopped running about.
Another catalistic moment came when we did a ten day meditation retreat in Thailand. We both realised and understood that nothing is permanent. Enjoy what you have now! You never know what could happen next.
Since then, we have been travelling differently, focusing on the quality of the moment rather than the quantity of sights and destinations.
It is true that this is much easier to travel this way when you have a lot of time. We don’t all have indefinite holidays!! But I am sure that even on shorter holidays it is still manageable. Focusing more on simple pleasures, taking the time to visit markets, try the food, exchange and laugh with the locals… You don’t speak their language? It’s easy to learn a few words. The effort you make to exchange with others will open the best unexpected doors! Get a dictionary, draw on the floor or use sign language, its all fun really… Laughter is universal!
Taking your time will also preserve your energy. We have seen a lot of friends travelling around the world for a year’s break. Every aspect of the trip was planned well in advance. They had great organisation, but they were exhausted! We appreciate how lucky we are with our boat, as we travel with our home and all its comforts.
So that’s it really, our advice is to try and take your time more. Instead of doing the whole tour of a country, concentrate on just one region. Learn Tango in Argentina, Spanish in Guatemala, visit the street markets of Thailand, get involved in humanitarian projects… Breathe… take your time!
These are the three main points that we value the most when travelling.
1. Meeting different cultures and people
- We try to connect more with the locals, learn about their way of life, try the food they eat, learn new recipes…
- We try to help the local communities. Get involved with community projects. Listen to what is important for the region. It will for sure open doors!
- Most of the time, our most memorable moments happened when things weren’t planned.
- We try to go out of our comfort zone more often to build up our confidence.
- We try to listen to our instincts, if it feels right we stay, if not, we move on.
2. Living in the moment
Time goes past so quickly. We never know what can happen tomorrow. So we find it is important to seize the moment so that we don’t have any regrets later on.
We try to take time to breathe and observe more. We love photography, painting and drawing because it makes us really appreciate the moment. It’s a nice feeling to stop and take time to look at things the way they really are.
It’s a funny thing but often the moments when we have struggled the most were quite often when we realized our best achievements. Don’t you appreciate the view so much more after the struggle of climbing up the mountain?
Do we have to wait until we are retired to go travelling? Our desires change with time. If you want something, make it happen now!
3. Being in harmony with nature
The times we feel the happiest are nearly always when we feel close to nature.
We try to enjoy the little simple things of life.Living on our boat made us aware of how precious fresh water is. When it rains for example, it’s a real treat. We fill up our water tanks and wash our clothes in a bucket with laughs and splashes. Everyone helps out and enjoys themselves.
- We try to use renewable energies as much as we can, such as wind and solar power.
- We want to be more involved in environmental issues to help our beautiful planet.
- We are going to recycle more and have less waste. Especially single use plastic waste, a real problem that we are seeing too much of as we sail around the globe (check out our projects).
- We try to use less of the engine and more the sails. Not only is it more economical, but better for the planet!
- We want to encourage local businesses and prioritise using them.
- We try to eat local products and not foods that have travelled miles before getting to our plates.
We have learnt that travelling this way allows us to have more meaningful memories and gives us a clearer goal.
Our world is going too fast for us! We find that our modern societies are very tough on our bodies and souls. To what purpose? To earn more money to buy more things?
We don’t want to miss out on our little girls growing up… This is our main priority now.
Is travelling an escape for us? No, it is just a way to make the most of the little time we have on this beautiful planet, discover the world, share, and experiment with others and try to make positive changes. It allows us to be more open-minded on what is really happening out there. We’ve got tired of being brain-washed by the negativity of the media and the news. We want to see the world through our own eyes, help where we can and share a little happiness.
This is only our very personal vision of travelling. What do you think? It would be great to exchange on the matter. We started this blog recently to share our views and experiences on travelling. We have great plans on creating a travelling community to share and exchange on all sort of subjects. Please like, share and follow us if you like what you read.
Meanwhile safe travels and be happy!