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Learning to Love Traveling Again

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Learning to Love Traveling, Again- Bike Journey Day 11

“I have lost a great deal of happiness, I know, by these wanderings. It is as if I had been born to exile; but it is God’s doing. . . . I am away from the perpetual hurry of civilization, and I think I see far and clear into what is to come; and then I seem to understand why I was led away, here and there, and crossed and baffled over and over again, to wear out my years and strength.”
-David Livingstone to Henry Morton Stanley, 1871

“People are happiest when they can really learn to be who they are. A beggar has to learn to be an all-out beggar. Unless he can be that, he will never taste the happiness of being a beggar. A person has no other way to live than to be out-and-out the person he is.”
-Taneda Santoka, April 6, 1932

Today as I was packing up to leave the museum hostel in Hodonin, my friend Pavlov encouraged me on my journey by chanting romantic notions of the wandering life:

“You are a traveling man; you will travel away from here and on to new lands, meet new peoples, and experience many new things.”

“I am sick of traveling,” I muttered. “Sometimes I just want to have a wife, make some kids, and live like my parents.” I then laughed, but the heaviness of my heart at leaving these friends hinted at seriousness.

Pavlov just looked at me and laughed. She knew that I was speaking ridiculous bramble, and she was right: I have ventured too far to turn back now. I suppose it is ordinary practice for anyone to question their bearings from time to time, but I know that I must learn how to love the life that I lead full heartedly and not to allow myself to easily be pulled too and fro by the whimsically romantic notions of other ways of life. I know that I would not want to live any other way than how I do – I know this deep in my bones – though, I must admit, it does feel good to daydream thoughts of waking up next to a familiar face amongst hills that I know by name in a house that I made by hand.
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Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Bratislava, Slovakia- July 9, 2008
Travelogue Travel Photos
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I must say that it is highly tempting to allow myself to slip into these dreams about building log cabins in woods and having a strong woman to make chop up and cook the animals that I hunt and the fish that I catch. But I know that this is only a fancifully entertaining dream. Pavlov’s sister, Shishuka, also giggled at me when I told her that I want to just get married and have kids.

“You are a traveler,” she said, “you are living your dreams. I want to read your blog posts about Syria.”

She was right. I want to read my blog posts about Syria too. I love the wandering life, but it is alright to dream – this is what traveling is all about.

I became caught up in Hodonin on the Slovak border of the Czech Republic. I made some friends here and was able to spend a lot of good times with their family. I went out to tea with them and their mother, picked cherries in their garden, was invited into their home for and excellent lunch, I had coffee and conversation with their father, and was pretty much treated as a member of their family during my stay. They even stopped taking my rent money after the third day, and made me feel like a welcomed guest. So I tried to make myself useful and painted some old oil drilling pipes in the technology park of their museum and revised their English language brochure.

And I was very happy there.

But then leaving day came, and the Road leading away from Hodonin seemed longer than ever. I spent an entire morning and most of the afternoon assembling, washing, and arranging my gear. I replace the chain on my bike, bought farewell gifts for my friends, and noticed that my gear basket was in absolute shambles. I did this all with a grudging sort of locomotion. This good family here in Hodonin simply reminded me of my own family in the USA, and their kindness filled me with waves of nostalgia for the times when I lived under the roof of my own home. I did not want to leave, and the thick dark clouds on the horizon were not tempting to ride out into.

But soon enough, my bike was loaded, and I said my final farewells to Pavlov at the entrance to their geology museum. She took my photograph, and then I slowly rode away into an impending rain storm.

I rode out of Hodonin with the heaviest of hearts, but the whispers of the Open Road soon became roaring shouts. I was moving again, and it felt good. I rode over the bridge to Slovakia and landed in the midst of a rain shower. I then questioned my intentions of starting out my day of biking at 4PM on a dark, busy highway in a storm. I looked at my gear, and found that it was well outfitted for the rain; I looked at myself, and found that I was not outfitted for a wet day of riding so close to camp-making time. A few extra miles was not worth a cold soggy night to me.

I retreated back to the geology museum.

But my heavy heart had dissipated, as I entered into a beautiful empty room that had a little couch next to a window for me to sit on and ponder some thoughts. I drank tea and read books and I knew that I really do love the life that I live. I must learn to fly with it fully. I am a traveler, and I must learn to be an all-out traveler, as Santoka put it.

“A person has no other way to live than to be out-and-out the person he is.”

I believe that learning who this person is takes many years of trials, blunders, and revelations. To find out the person that I am, I feel that I must travel. I also feel that I must accept traveling as being a major part of who I am. At this point, I believe that the two cannot be separated.

“People are happiest when they can really learn to be who they are.”

With each step, each peddle, each town, city, country, and continent, I think that I am slowly learning this deeply hidden knowledge.

I love traveling, and I must accept the fact that traveling man cannot have everything but the world.

“I have lost a great deal of happiness, I know, by these wanderings,” but I also know that I have gain much, much more.

For the love of the Open Road.

Links to previous travelogue entries:
Leaving for Bratislava- Bicycle Journey Day 11
Rest for a Weary Traveler- Bike Journey Day 4
Asus Eee PC Popular with Travelers

Learning to Love Traveling, Again- Bike Journey Day 11
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Filed under: Adventure, Bicycle Travel, Czech Republic, Eastern Europe, Europe, Travel Philosophy

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3054 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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