Story / 30 Jul 2014 / 0 COMMENTS
Crossing Eurasia Overland
After I finally finished my studies and worked for a year I am now ready to prepare for this trip that will bring me through Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and ends in Thailand. Why go on such a long trip? The answer is pretty simple: I don’t like flying.
Not liking flying is a pretty understatement, I am actually afraid of it. But instead of letting this fear limit my life, I use it as an encouragement to travel even further. Instead of taking a simple flight, I am forced to look for alternatives, that might take a bit, sometimes much longer. However I don’t mind this at all, because with every trip I take I realise that there is so much more to see between point A and point B, things I have would have easily missed otherwise. Not to sound like a cliche but I truly believe that the journey is the destination, and once you start traveling you will always find new places to see and experiences to take away.
One fundamental experience that I always took away from each and every trip is the shedding of the fear of the unknown. I think anyone who has been traveling, knows that little fear of going to a place you don’t know anything about. You worry about not speaking the language, missing a train or getting lost. Many people like myself not too long ago have been limited by this fear to actually go out in the world and experience different cultures, languages and ways of life.
Before I was afraid of flying I would only travel between my two comfort zones: Germany and Thailand, always dreading going to any other place in between. But once I was forced to choose between my two fears I chose to confront the latter but taking a massive journey from Thailand to Germany on a cargo ship. That was my first trip alone outside of my comfort zone and I was afraid as hell. But with every challenge I overcame I realised that those fears were unfounded. Like traveling to Malaysia proved to be a breeze as many people spoke English, the people on the cargo ship turned out to be one of the most admirable I have ever met and we weren’t boarded by pirates when we passed Somalia, although an unfortunate boat not far from us couldn’t say the same.
Looking back, have a vivid recollection of myself as a 10 year old boy, standing at the top of the St. Gotthard Pass in Switzerland. I was there with my parents on a road trip through the Alps and was there looking south towards Italy. At that point I had never been to Italy and felt like begging my parents to go there. But at the same time felt a dreadful feeling that I can’t travel there on my own because I couldn’t speak Italian. It was only 9 years later after I went on a class trip to Rome and learned basic Italian that I had the guts of going there on my own. At that point I experienced the most thrilling thing about traveling: I realised that I had nothing to fear. With each subsequent trip, like the latest one to Croatia or Poland or Hungary, I always keep in mind that although I experience this fear, I always look forward to the point where I can look back and tell myself that I had nothing to be afraid of.
Whilst making the map for this post and roughly plotting routes I will take, I once again felt a slight hint of terror about the prospect of traveling across nearly half the world, through countries that I have never set foot in nor speak their language. But I remain optimistic that when I start the journey, I will again realise how unfounded these fears were. On this note I will end this entry and get back to applying for my visas.