Exploring life's passions

We are not travelling

Mardi Gras in New OrleansYou probably already know that we are not on holiday all the time. We are also not travelling. Well, we are. We travel. We go to places like Bolivia, Iguazu Falls in Argentina, mardi gras in New Orleans and wherever else. But the reason we go there is not to travel. Well, it is. But it’s not. Let me explain.

Travelling is not the aim, we’re not trying to visit as many countries as possible and we haven’t set out to see how many miles we can cover in a year. We don’t go to all these places because we really like to travel. Travelling is not the reason we go there. The fact that we happen to really like travelling is lucky for us, otherwise it would be a much more difficult process.

That we both like to travel is more than a happy coincidence, considering that we, this Scottish guy and Dutch woman, met in South Africa while we were both working in Namibia. It was pretty obvious from the start that we both had a common interest in travel.

That we now travel so much is no coincidence either. It’s a deliberate choice. But we could have chosen to do any one of a million things. The important thing is that we want to pursue things that we are passionate about, things that really matter to us. And travelling, for neither of us, is what’s really important, travelling is the means to an end.

Life is LearningFor me, it’s about learning. I’ve only discovered this recently about myself (by that I mean, when I was writing this post). And, if we believe all the learning theories out there, I’m one of those people who learns by observing. I need to see something being done and then have to try it for myself before I really learn how it all works. As much as I love books, I just cannot only learn from reading, I need to see the thing in practice.

What really fascinates me is to discover that all the things we’ve been doing throughout our whole lives so far – in our countries, societies, families, and even how we’ve always done particular things as individuals – it’s still amazing to me to learn that our way is not necessarily the best way, and definitely not the only way. No matter how many times I’m confronted by this fact, however much I might have seen this in practice, I’m still surprised by this revelation (I’m not a quick learner).

I like to see how weddings are celebrated in different countries. Or occasions like New Year (in Peru they wear yellow underwear and walk around the block with their suitcases at midnight). Even simple things interest me. I love to see markets in different countries, especially fish markets. Wedding in BoliviaI like to see how disgusting a fish market can be (the Albert Cuyp market in Amsterdam has some of my favourite ugly fish). And, even though they’re often more of a challenge and a frustration, I can somehow enjoy how so many countries can have different wall sockets for electricity (I now find those in the UK the weirdest and almost always forget to click the little switch on these days).

The similarities too can be very cool. Every country seems to use hot water, honey, lemon juice and the local alcoholic spirit of choice to relieve a cold.

So, all this travelling we do is really not about the travelling, it’s about following what we think is important in life and, for us, that happens to involve a lot of travelling. What are your passions in life, and how do you follow them?

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