The world's oldest rain forest is approximately 130 million years old. I am approximately 23 years old. Do you have any idea how small and irrelevant your problems seem when you are existing in a place that has been around for millions of years? I'll tell you. Very small and irrelevant.
Don't get me wrong, this rain forest provoked a whole host of less insightful thoughts, like "Holy sh*t it's so humid it's like I'm hiking through a bathtub." and "If one more DAMN mosquito lands on my body I am going to feed myself to the closest roaming tiger." But I'm going to focus on the insightful side of things bc that's the kind of positive ray of sunshine I am. Plus traveling is supposed to make you grow, or whatever.
So in light of my attempt at "growth" I wanted to share one of my all time favorite poems with you. Written by Martha Medeiros (and often wrongly attributed to one of my favorite poets, Pablo Neruda), I think it embodies a myriad of the pillars by which I try to live my life. The original is in Spanish, but I did my best to find you guys a decent English translation in case your Spanish is a little rusty. You can find the full original and translated versions at the bottom of this post in the photo gallery if you're interested (which you should be), but for now I'd like to share with you my favorite parts.
Muere lentamente... quien no se permite por lo menos una vez en la vida,
huir de los consejos sensatos.
quien no viaja,
quien no lee,
quien no oye música,
quien no encuentra gracia en si mismo.
Evitemos la muerte en suaves cuotas,
recordando siempre que estar vivo exige un esfuerzo mucho mayor
que el simple hecho de respirar.
Dies slowly he or she... who does not allow, at least once in his life, flees from wise counsel.
Dies slowly he who does not travel, does not read,
he who does not listen to music, who does not find grace in himself.
Let's avoid death in soft doses,
remembering always that to be alive demands an effort much bigger
than the simple fact of breathing...
If you know me even a little bit, I think you understand why these pieces of the poem speak to me the most. If you don't, either get to know me or else take a wild guess. Granted, I adore the entire poem, but these verses in particular. And I want to make it clear that while for me, to travel is to live, there are so many other ways to live your life to the fullest that don't involve dropping all your savings on year-long trips and waking up every day on the other side of the world missing your family and toilets that don't involve squatting. In fact, my life choices are probably not even necessarily recommendable to most people - especially if you want to have any kind of financial security in the future. But they work for me.
This morning, I took a 3h boat ride through the oldest rain forest in the world, which connected me to a 4h mini-van ride that brought me to the bustling capital city of Malaysia. This week, I will hit my 24th country (Singapore). These are the things that bring me joy. I wake up every day excited to be alive and grateful for every moment I am given to exist and take in the world around me. I never want to reach a point where I feel like I'm too old or too invested or too responsible to drop everything and run to the other end of the globe. I know it sounds insane, but I love the idea that I have no idea where I'll be next week or next month or next year. I'm 23 years old, and my life does not need to be a checklist. It should be a damn scavenger hunt. So wish me luck, folx. Bc I have a feeling it's going to be one hell of a ride.
Oh! Speaking of growth, I'm about to have to grow up reaaaal fast when Kyle heads back to the States next week - he's been my personal alarm clock (bc he's the kind of monster they call a "morning person") - and sounding board for the last three months of Southeast Asia travel and there is a distinct possibility I will miss my 8AM flight to Jakarta without him around to wake me up. Help.
But for now, there's a whole new city for me to discover while I melt and kind of wish I was dead bc it's so humid it physically hurts. Yaaaaaay travel! YAY.
Until next time folx - XOXOX
About the Author
Mouth like a sailor, great lacker of empathy, paper cut survivor, avid arguer, harsh critic of people who put clothes on their pets, easily distracte
USA, Mexico, Iceland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Malta, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, England, Poland, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Scotland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Greece, Vatican City, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Guatemala, Kenya