Look into the Now: How Travel Can Help You Escape from Reality and Live Life in the Present.
To travel as an escape from reality entails an irrefutable necessity for lifestyle change.
What is reality? Before you decide to close this article whilst snickering at the cliche hippy-mumbo-jumbo opening line and returning to your hypnotised thumb flicking, hear me out. Reality to me was never about the present, which seems ridiculous because essentially it is the only thing that is truly real, but to me it seemed to always be about the future. You wake up in the morning, your reality is always a predetermined check-list, pinned to your subconscious; you stumble out of bed and before you realise you’re already halfway through your ritualised Nescafe dreading the mundane, pre-written narrative that is your Tuesday. There is no spontaneity, the present doesn’t exist in your life and it seems we are always seeking to burn time until something excitingly predetermined comes around.
I feel as if this life has been reered for us. Our books are written before are even born. Preschool, primary school, high school, college, university, job, marriage, kids, job, holiday, job, retirement, death. It is almost as if our aim is to religiously trace the words of our pre-written book, while only looking forward to the rare blank chapters which are ours to invent in the moment; our holidays or sometimes, Friday nights.
I was a slave to this book. An 18 year old kid with the world right in front of his eyes, yet looking through foggy binoculars in search for a finish line. With the boring, dry, institutionalised bullshit we are forced to spend the majority of our young lives learning in school, how are we meant to have a passion? The next chapter of the book I so desperately needed to trace out was university. Because without that expensive piece of paper, I’ve been told I’ll end up digging holes for the rest of my life. Due to my institutionalised fear of the blank chapters, I chose a degree in big business, because hey, that’ll get me a job.
“it was as if the binoculars were pulverised, my eyes were open and I knew this was not what I was here for.”
Two and a half years of corporate brainwashing in a modern business school later, I was nearly set to graduate and move onto the next chapter. Then one gloomy day, in a routine tutorial, my grey haired, pompous faced tutor asked the class about current world issues. A few students pointed out some they’d seen on the news lately; crisis in the Middle East, politics, sports, all which the tutor replied so sarcastically to you’d have to wonder if the sound came out of her nose, “Yes, very important, but something else?” as if she couldn’t have just raised her topic herself. The topic she was looking for was the Ebola outbreak in Africa. Gaining the classes attention, she continued to contextualise human suffering into opportunity for corporate profit. The class discussion continued on for an hour, topics included pharmaceutical investment, foreign direct investment in Northern Africa and research and development opportunities – ALL in the context of corporate profit from cures, treatments and the prolonging of the crisis for optimal long term capitalisation. I sat in the class, gobsmacked, not believing I was the only student morally objecting the very thought of profiting from human suffering. I knew these people weren’t evil, they were just like any average youths, but they were so brainwashed it seemed they had their very conscience taken from them. In this moment, it was as if the binoculars were pulverised, my eyes were open and I knew this was not what I was here for. To live a life contributing to a system that is only benefiting the one percent, driving on an endless highway towards becoming one of them was all of a sudden as clearly stupid as it sounds.
“I wanted to escape, to learn and to live.”
If our world is a lie, if we are told our very reality isn’t in the present but somewhere in the future, how do we recover? How do we break free and get a full book of blank pages to be written by us? This was the question that was plaguing me. I wanted to escape, to learn and to live. The most rational option was to get away from my old, fake reality and just go. I decided to fly to Greece that winter and enjoy an unpredicted, free year with no plans.
7 months later, I’m sitting in a brown smokey bar in Reykjavik writing down my thoughts. What you learn from travel isn’t always as cliche as the endless quantity of hipster bloggers preach, but it definitely grabs your heart and doesn’t let it go. The lessons aren’t from travel, travel merely places you in the conditions vital to these realisations. I believe this environment can cure depression, improve your health and fulfil your life better than any commercialised remedy or pharmaceutical cocktail. But our home governments don’t want us here. Without a preplanned, prepaid and prewritten holiday tour, how are our bank owned “democracies” going to take your tax or ensure you will be back to the rat race of consumerism which feeds their greedy gobs?
The thought of not knowing what awaits me around the corner is undoubtedly horrifying. How will I support myself? These questions that plague us are permanently engrained, because our governments need us to think like that, they have trained us to. They use fear in a fake democracy to force us to believe that we are in power and we need control of our lives. I believe there will always be a brighter future if I look to the present. I don’t know if at 40 I’ll be a happy father of 3 or if I’ll be living board free working on a farm in the German Rhineland without a dollar. The beauty is the unknown and that is something I’ve learned to live my life by.
Learning to write your own story, living life in the present and taking risks will fulfil you. I’m not trying to say everyone should quit their jobs and go travel, but open your eyes and look around at the now. Enjoy your limited time here on this earth and stop looking forward to the distant future that you tell yourself will be great. Greatness is now, reality is now and the time is now. Go live!