MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “travel”

A mission to the end of the world

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He gained a newfound optimism for life when he was given something to look forward to: a new mission to Tierra del Fuego – the Land of Fire – in search of a mythical treasure.

As a veteran explorer this was most possibly David’s last assignment. But he was thrilled that it was in a place known as the land of fire and ice, situated at the end of the world at the southern-most peak of South America, and hosting inimitable natural beauty and wildlife.  

The past couple of months were hard on him. Having faced health problems, divorce, loss of loved ones, high fines for debts and a series of daily challenges, which he thought he would never survive.

Yet, he tried to bring to mind all those seemingly impossible missions he had completed successfully. If he could handle circumstances other people didn’t even dream of, surely he could conquer the difficulties of daily life as well.

But depression got the better of him, nonetheless. He found no joy in living and saw no real sense in anything anymore.

Until he received that call, telling him he was the only one for the job. He was thrilled to be the single person most suitable for this mission of a lifetime. Like a phoenix rising from its ashes, he felt reborn, renewed, in preparing for his travel.

He may never find what he was looking for. It was indeed considered impossible that the treasure even existed. But he would try with all his forces.

In the least, he would find himself, and perhaps comprehend that sometimes the treasures we seek are not across the world but right next to us.

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Blue lenses to another world

© CEAyr

He had recently gotten new blue glasses because he had misplaced – ergo lost – the previous ones.  She was so excited to see them left on an open book one afternoon.

She had been trying to get him to read forever.

Readers do that – they try to insert everyone in their magical world. That place where you can escape to from anywhere at any time. Where you can, temporarily at least, forget about the things troubling you. Where you can raise your mind and glimpse into another world, another perspective, another universe. And you always come out wiser, sometimes even bolder.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

That feeling of being at home

©MCD

There is a serenity in finding a place you can call home. Because no matter how many buses, trains, airplanes you need to get there, it is all worth the tiredness when you finally reach it. It is a place you hold dear in your heart because you know it will always welcome you back, no matter how far you go or how long it takes for you to return.

It is even greater if you have friends who will always be waiting for you and who will get out of their way to make you feel like home, because that is exactly where you feel you are. A family is one that extends beyond blood ties. And those friends who are geographically distant from you are sometimes the ones who are the closest. You will talk for hours about everything and always be up to date with each others’ lives. They will always have some wise advice to share and that optimism that everything will be all right and life will find its way to give you want you deserve.

There are places that mark our lives. Places where we wished we could live forever, as long or short a period that word connotes. There are places that don’t really change with time, but that is perfectly OK with us because you don’t want them to change (only if it is for the better). There are places other people tell you they visited on a travel streak and you are proud to say, ‘I know it, I lived there, it is like home’.

There are places where no matter your absence, whenever you return, you know exactly where everything is and where to go, where the hidden gems are, and where to find the best views. As if coming back home.

And if you are lucky enough to find such a place with friends who have become family, you are blessed with having a home away from home, one that will offer you peace and tranquillity, a place to crash (literally and metaphorically) and the strength to regroup yourself so you can return to ‘normality’ stronger and more optimistic.

Grounded

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As teenagers, we often complain, moan and storm into our rooms angrily when parents forbid us from doing something, usually going out. It has gained the term “grounded”, as if we are airplanes prohibited from flying to symbolise that our wings are being tied down.

Yet, the same word has another meaning: that of being well-balanced and sensible. Of being able to see both sides to every situation and being capable of taking a rational decision.

It is only when you are truly grounded – actually prevented from flying – that you realise what the whole concept really entails.

We have the option of going anywhere we want, practically at any time we choose to do so. Yet, we may not exploit this opportunity for months. But when that “given” is taken away, when the choice is removed, that is when we start to miss it.

Life has a strange way of altering your point of view and of offering valuable lessons.

Sometimes it is not about how far your travel, but how much you spread your wings and do fly. How much you take advantage of every opportunity life gives you.

Steps forward

20180107_Steni, Evoia

©MCD

The secret to success is to have faith that you can; you don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step. You just have to be willing to move forward.

It’s amazing how your perspective can change if you simply walk a little out of your comfort zone. Go to places you’ve never been before. Locations that you can’t even point to on a map. Places you didn’t even know existed. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

You’ll be astounded by how much beauty there is in this world. And by how close it is to you. Even your neighbouring city or village holds secrets and attractions that you don’t know about, simply because you’re too lazy or stuck in your own world to go look.

Go travel. Go live. Go learn about the world.

It will open your mind and make you realise that most often you worry too deeply about things that shouldn’t matter so much.

Take the step. You won’t regret it.

Fernweh

FernwehThere is a word in German – Fernweh – describing a crave for travel; being homesick for a place you’ve never been. Few can understand the feeling. It’s the need to be somewhere else, wherever  you are at the moment. It’s that emotion that fills your veins when you stare outside a window on a rainy autumn morning. It’s the answer to “what’s wrong” on days you can’t function, or aren’t satisfied with anything but don’t know why.

We all experience that longing at some point in our lives. That need to flee, to escape it all; that urge for change; to find something new, something that will relight a spark in our lives.

Even if we don’t know where that place is, we will always be hopeful that there exists somewhere where everything is (somehow) better, different, brighter.

A Platanus of history

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©MCD

There is a quote that says, “imagine if trees gave free WiFi; we’d all be planting like crazy. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe”.

Trees are more important and vital for our lives than we believe or even give them credit for. They contribute to their environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife. They produce the wood we use to light our fireplaces in the winter, make our furniture, even the paper we write on. Yet, we cut them down without second thoughts.

It is no wonder then, that when we come across a tree that is centuries old we treat it as a wonder of nature. We stand before it dumbfounded, gazing at this stupendous sight. And it makes you truly feel small and insignificant.

There is a place in North Evia, Greece, somewhere along that nature-blazing road that has you driving among trees, on your way towards the Kyreas River, in between the villages of Prokopi and Mantoudi. There is this place where a sign will direct you to the “Great Platanus”. A plane tree that residents will tell you has been there for centuries. It is “a tree of huge dimensions”, as the sign reads, a “monument of nature”. A Platanus Orientalis. It is 22-23 metres tall, with its trunk’s circumference reaching 18 metres, its trunk diameter at 5.5 metres, the surface of its stem at 900 square metres, and its shadow said to be once stretching over 2.5 acres. Its age is estimated at 500-600 years, although some say that it exceeds 2,300 years! It is said that this is the most ancient Platanus in the Balkans, perhaps even the whole of Europe.

20171028_133927Its tree trunks are larger than what can fit in your wide-open arms. It stands imposing before you and, even though lacking in foliage and somewhat deserted and with broken branches, the vastness of this tree is not diminished. Rather, it is a refreshing site in a world full of asbestos and tar. There is also a huge hollow in its trunk, big enough for 10 or more people standing. In it, you suddenly forget all the problems that trouble your head daily. You take a deep breath and simply be grateful for being alive. For being there. And for being able to witness this. Just think about all the changes this tree may have witnessed. It was there before you and will probably remain so even after you.

20171028_133932As with all over-aged creatures, there are myths and legends surrounding this tree. For example, it is said that if someone falls asleep in its hollow, they will fall ill or harm will come to them, as goblins will come out and cast a spell on them. In another legend, if you are found at midnight under the tree, you will hear voices, music, violins and clarinets, and see fairies and goblins appear dancing at the shores of the river. In yet another, it is said that at midnight two large rams come out of the platanus and start noisily fighting each other. This tree is often associated with fairies and goblins as it was believed that, being over-aged, it was also haunted.

No matter the stories, however, the reality remains that this, like so many others, is part of our natural heritage and should be protected and preserved. We devote so much of our time, energy and funds to things that matter less, yet we abandon those that benefit us more.

N.B. All photos are mine, taken in North Evia, Greece, on 28 October 2017.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Gratitude

 

A road to a different view

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©Danny Bowman

They told him the difficult, winding roads, the ones less travelled are the ones that would lead him to the most beautiful destinations. To places he had never seen before, never even imagined. He decided to take the risk because he wanted some peace of mind.

It was cloudy, perhaps even preparing for rain. And the gravel was rough; he could feel his car panting. But he was determined to go on.

He could see it up ahead. Tranquility was expecting him.

It was as if an entire mountain was waiting for his arrival to show him a different perspective.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Life is a journey not a destination

http://www.wns.com/Portals/0/Images/HeaderBanner/desktop/1087/53/travel_HD.jpgIn an interview, renowned architect Renzo Piano said, “when you are born in a city surrounded by water, the only thing you think about is that the water will become a path to take you away, to explore the world”. It is true. As children, we all have that feeling of wanting to discover what more is out there. You feel that your surroundings constrain you and you need to leave, to meet other places. As adults, we try to find the time and money to travel. But what we often forget is that “travel is not a reward for working; it is education for living”.

There is a saying that “we travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us” and it is certainly true that “travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer”.

We travel to grow. To allow our mind to grow and expand at all the new things we learn while in a different place. We find out that the world we live in is more vast that we acknowledge and that it is impossible to see it all in a lifetime.

We travel to get away. To discover new places, new people, different customs and other mentalities; but at the same time to (re)discover ourselves. We change places in the hope of finding serenity, calm and understanding when we lack it at home. With the optimism that we will rethink certain aspects and manage to find peace in a surrounding that is different to the one we see every day.  We travel to make ourselves better, in every way.

We travel to reinvent ourselves and ultimately to become richer – particularly, in the mind and soul. It is indeed better to “fill your heart with adventure not things. Have stories to tell not stuff to show.  Because one thing is for sure, when you return, you are never the same person you left.

A minute change

world travelLight travels at about 300,000 kilometres per second. Sound travels at about 340 metres per second. So you usually see things faster than you hear them. In some ways, this may also partly explain the jet-lag – that feeling of being in a parallel universe – that overwhelms you when you change countries, no matter how small the distance you travel.

A lot can change in a few seconds. And with the constantly advancing technology, we can roam the world as if we are merely travelling across cities, instead of across continents and oceans.

No matter, though, if you’re travelling 900km or 10,000km, if it takes you an hour’s flight or ten hours, the same strange feeling somehow finds its way into your mind. The one minute you are in house A, of city A in country A, laughing and dining with family and friends, and then a couple of hours later you’re in house B, in city B, country B, rummaging supermarkets for your bare necessities, mopping the house floors and cooking for your own meals. All of a sudden, you’re on the other side of the online chat screen.

It’s a great feeling to know that you can break the confines of time and space with such ease and feel that the entire world is at your reach whenever you feel like it. But it always requires at least a few minutes of re-adjustment. So that your mind and spirit can catch up with your physical presence. It would almost be as if you were sliding through multiple dimensions, if only you didn’t know for a fact that you are still in that same single one we have. So all you can do is acclimatize yourself as quickly as possible and always make the most of every minute you spend country-hopping!

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