Monday, June 30, 2008

THE WHOLE TRAVEL THING

We are always saying that the world is a very small place - coincidences that happen and people we meet make this true. The day before my 21st birthday, when I was just hanging around in Japan, I met a girl whose 21st birthday was also the next day - on my birthday! She asked me to her party and we celebrated together even though we had never met before or since. Now that was an incredible coincidence. In Japan people spoke to me all the time and some had never seen a non-Japanese person before. It made for a great trip and I did some unbelievable things because I could speak Japanese and I was on my own, with no plans. None. A one way ticket to Japan. Every day was a new experience and I remember thinking one day "where in the whole world shall I go today?" Eventually I left because my second visa ran out and I went to England..

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This next trip is not dissimilar in the whole 'do it alone and go with the flow' thing but I have a lot of plans because of all the wonderful invitations and that is an unbelievable experience, even before I leave home! And the world is even smaller now than it was in 1979 - I will have a laptop and get email and post to the blog whenever I can find a connection. In a sense I will not be as free as I was before because someone will always know where I am - but it will do.

I think people see travel in different ways and as you get older your ideas about it and just about everything change. I want to step into the shoes of the gardeners I visit; I want to see life from their perspectives; I want to see their food gardens as they see them, rather than as a visitor sees them. I want to experience what it is to live their lives, why they do it and share with them the fun and follies of living a bit outside the square. I hope to leave them as friends, good friends, connected through a belief in going softly and taking responsibility for ourselves. I want to eat their food and drink what they drink, with no concern for what I might like at all. I will give them anything I can and share everything I think, and hope we have a good laugh along the way too.

This is not a generally accepted travel plan, I feel, but it is mine. I don't feel any anxiety over plans or things I should take. In fact, if I could, I would just take what I wear on the plane and borrow some clothes when necessary and travel with hardly anything - except all the electronic gizmos! That would be ideal but, again, not what most people aspire to doing, I think. I did this in Japan, after deciding to leave all my luggage at someone's house and just take a small daypack. When it got cold I bought a jumper at a second hand shop. When it got hot, I bought some sandals. I still have both these things and wear them and remember buying them. It will be interesting to see what I end up taking, won't it. Not much, I hope.

After all is said and done, the world is full of people just living their lives, like I do here. Why people get so stressed about travel I have no idea.....maybe I will find out!

Life is good. Take it with you on your journey and share it around.

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3 comments:

Barbara said...

You might be surprised! I'm the same age as you and first went
overseas at the same time. i
always travelled in the same go
with the flow way. My husband and I
still travel a lot but now we like
a little comfort and sometimes
knowing where we'll be sleeping
that night. Good luck!

chaiselongue said...

This is definitely the way to travel, Kate. You won't be a tourist, you'll be finding out how we all live and garden in different countries. Eating, drinking, food, laughing - the basics of life in any country - it'll be fun, I'm sure, and you (and we) will learn a lot. Life is good - especially if you travel light.

Pattie Baker said...

I love that line: "After all is said and done, the world is filled with people just living their lives . . ." Very nice, Kate.