The phases of travelling can be easily compared to the phases of life. I spent my first travel in complete unconsciousness. I was four years old and watched my parents squeezing my clothes into a box with handles. I didn’t understand what was going on, and I was even a bit scared from the sudden change. This is the first phase of travelling: total unconsciousness about what you are doing and why you are led to move around the world.
As in life, in this travelling phase you can’t hope to stand on your feet alone, but instinctively you try and look for support everywhere. You need someone to emulate, someone to show you the way, to show you how to move beyond your comfort zone.
This phase of assisted exploration has a different duration for each of us. I belong to a family of travellers, and my phase was quite long, which I deem a luck. My parents opened to me the doors of Europe and Canada. I only had my first solo journey when I was 23 and moved to Madrid for my studies.
The choice of moving to an unknown town without knowing the local language was a ponderate one. I wanted to reach a place where I would have to question my certainties. Landing at the airport and having no idea where to go was quite a shock, but later the same emotion turned into a powerful urge to see every corner of Madrid. Every stone was a new threat to me, and I was very hungry.
I was entering puberty, my legs felt strong and I wanted to run as fast as possible, I wanted to cover all the way in no matter what little time was available. In this phase everything happens so fast, you barely have the chance to feel it, to think about it. You take pride in checking every box and telling your friends “I was there too!”.
At that time I lived in Spain and then California, and visited Korea and Japan. After every journey I had tons of pictures and stories to tell, but I was through none of them with the proper maturity. I couldn’t grasp yet how every travel I made was changing my life.
Today I reached maturity, a phase of stability towards travelling. I value the quality of my time spent on travels more than the number of sights or goals reached. And I feel the need to share my experiences with fellow travellers in a deeper way. I reached this phase during my travel in Japan last summer: looking at my photos I was finally able to remember everything which came through my lenses.
Logically, there should by one last phase of travelling: old age. That phase will be full of memories, I will share my experiences and listen to the younger travellers’ stories. I will recognize in their eyes the same emotions I felt in the previous phases, the travel being the bind between different generations.
I often ask myself if it is worse a boring life that would leave me charmed by the smallest thing, or a such a life full of excitement that once old nothing will be able to shake me anymore.