So, there we go again, just with our backpacks - the house on our shoulders. Homeless. Travelers. Alone. With heavily pounding hearts and thirsty aching throats, sweat-covered skin and a light in our eyes, that could tell one or another story. They have seen real freedom...
It makes me happy to think, that it was my own decision to end up in this very situation. Right now. Right here. Sometimes I forget about this and I start complaining. When I'm annoyed, stressed, hot, hungry, tired, sad, unbalanced or simply dissatisfied. Then I try to look for someone or something else to blame... Writing these words, it sounds very immature. And it is, in a way. Still, I bet, everyone knows these feelings, and I'm happy for those who are less emotional about them and more rational and able to track down the root of their problems, which is - in most cases - only their own perspective on the issue.
And, I know about all this, seriously, which makes it even more dissatisfying when I step into that nasty obvious trap, that nobody else but myself put there... Realizing that it is on me, to be either happy or unhappy, no matter what, gives me even more freedom and energy. And there is yet another dimension: If we chose to be happy, we actually have an impact on our surroundings! - Same, if we're unhappy. Then it is more likely for something to fail, it feels like everything and everyone conspires against us and it all gets only worse. Our own negativity is reflected in our actions, through the people we interact with and spreads out and makes us (and not only us) more miserable. What goes around, comes around.
Translate this to what happens, if we're happy: Everything seems possible and stuff works out even better than we expected, and even if not, it doesn't really matter because we're at peace with ourselves and our light shines brighter than ever, which is impossible to hide from our fellows.
So, I decided: I want to be happy. :)
When I say, my eyes have seen real freedom, it's also because they've seen real repression. And likewise with happiness and sadness, love and hatred, wealth and poverty. I know, there is always more, but this counts for everything. At the same time, I know nothing. But I believe, what I've seen, broadened my horizon, led me to decisions and taught me ways to look at things differently.
Anyhow, it certainly brought me to this point, writing these lines. And I am sure, whatever I will see with my young eyes, will shape myself, like a wood-carver shapes his sculpture. A sculpture, that can always get more detailed features and distinct edges. It's a lifework never to be finished. Always another wrinkle, another lesson about life to be learned.
I've noticed, that I speak less and watch more. I've noticed that my hands look older and that I am calmer. I'm waving less between extremes. Or at least, there are larger distances in between them, now.
In the past year, which I spent almost entirely in the south of China, I've met some of the most incredible people in my life. I can call them teachers, soulmates or friends, brothers and sisters and there are people I can't find words for... To put all these characters in place, to describe the emotions I felt and feel about each one of them, is almost impossible, like counting goose bumps or sand on the beach or stars in the sky or drops of water in the sea.
I miss this new home. Not to mention the other home. I miss having a home, at least sometimes these days. Because sometimes all this freedom and the open road are too big and too much and I just want a little space for myself, a temple of tranquility and comfort, where nobody can enter, unless I let them. But day by day, I feel more comfortable traveling again.
It was a challenge putting all my life back into my backpack, choosing what is really necessary and what isn't. And leaving Kunming was even more difficult than leaving Germany, more than two years ago. Not because I got to love it more, simply because it was a place I chose for myself. A place, I explored, where I connected and where I belong. I still think sometimes, that it's funny to say that about China, really, but it could have been anywhere in the world. And it couldn't have. It needed to be a place as extraordinary as this: Huge and diverse, equally difficult and easy, so incredibly different but still so familiar. But, I left with a smile and a heart full of love and "the sea in my eyes".
Coming to Vietnam was overwhelming to me, at first. Being a stranger surrounded by enormous amounts of expats (and I must say, I probably haven't seen that many westerners in one place on this trip yet, not even in India), being sucked into the loud and dusty Hanoi-street life with all its motorbikes and its many lakes and its yelling street vendors and its Banh-My-Places and its Com-Binh-Dan-Food stalls. And the heat, above all, was tiring!
Being stuck in different realities, Emma and I took quite a while to feel natural and comfortable with each other again. We rented motorbikes, the night before we left the city, I taught her how to drive on Hanois rainy back roads, the next ten days we drove more than 1200 km through the breathtaking countryside of North Vietnam. We camped out again and cooked food on our camping cooker or on the beach above the fire.
Leaving Hanoi for good was quite a mission. It was Emmas home for a long while and so it was quite emotional for her, we were a bit devoid of ideas and had other stuff in our minds anyway, so we just jumped on a bus to make sure, we would leave and to make our way south, along the seaside. We arrived to Hue, moved on to Danang and later on to Hoi An, which is famous for their Old Town with traditional style houses, temples and pagodas, that survived the wars of the last century from ancient times, with an interesting mixture of Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese architecture and flair.
With crossing the border to Cambodia, we left to a place that is new to both of us. It felt good right form the start. We ended up in a small town with friendly people, a lot of good smelling nature and to our surprise a beautiful small cottage to ourselves, with sunset view and nothing but silence.
And now we're here, starting this trip again. Just with a backpack. And a lot to think about. I try to remember: We create our own reality. Live and let live. To give out of love and not to expect anything in return...
In the end, it's not only a journey. It is our life. Where it goes, nobody knows...
|Spirit Tribe Festival - Near Kunming (Thanks for the picture, Jane!)|
|Village in North Vietnam|
|Ducks and Beautiful Green|
|Fabulous Campsite on the Motorbike Trip|
|Near the Chinese Border|
|On a small cute ferry back from Cat Ba Island|
|Everyone is playing... - in Hanoi|
|So much Ginger!|
|How about yellow? - Hoi An|
|How about black? - Hoi An|
|Dude-Grandma - Hoi An|
|Welcome to Cambodia - Banlung|