Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Art of Travelling pt. 2

There have been so many travel-related things going on around me, so I really felt the need to write a post about travelling. 

First, my boyfriend's sister and her friend are currently planning a 6-month-or-so trip to Australia and I am so jealous. I want to travel too!

Second,  I am reading a wonderful book called Annanstanslängtan. Noteringar från ett krympande klot. It's written in Swedish by a person called Anders Mathlein. The title could be roughly translated into something like Longing for Elsewhere: Notes from a Shrinking Globe.

Third, LePorkstar has written a good post about travelling.
Travelling has so many meanings for people: some travel for pleasures, others travel because they want to satisfy that thirst for knowledge and new experiences. Some people travel because that it is the cool thing to do in our modern society. I would like to think that travelling requires a certain level of open-mindedness and a wish to improve as a human being. 

Travelling has always been important to me. I remember how my dad took me to the playground when I was about two years old. They had a "bike carousel" there, one of these

I used to bike round and round, shouting out the next stop. At the age of 2, I was fairly open-minded about my travelling: the distance between Moscow and Washington was very short. Even then, I felt the need to see the world and to somehow escape the normality of life. Travelling, I believe, is a type of escapism. A desire for more than this. 

There are two "firsts" in my personal travel history. The first time a friend of my mother's took me to Riga, Latvia. The year was 1992 and seeing the realities of the collapse of the Soviet Union affected even me, a kid too young to actually understand things. I remember how the queues to the shops were long, there was no bread and people preferred us to pay in Finnish currency instead of rubles.

The second first was my first trip on my own. During my teens, I had a lot of snailmail penfriends all around the world. A friend from Greece, a girl my age, invited me to visit her and her family. At the time, I was 18. The trip was far from the normal beach travel to Greece, instead I got to see Athens, some islands and the mountains, while experiencing the Greek hospitality.

Travelling - for me - has always been more about scratching beyond the surface, trying to learn about the place and the people I am visiting. It is also about languages, culture and food. Oh yes, food is important. The best part of travelling is to try various local dishes!

The best kind of travelling is when you stay in a country for a longer time. I have been lucky to have this opportunity, several times even. It is during these longer stays that one understands the workings behind the facades: a tourist might not have the time (nor the interest) to understand all the complexity and social forces at play. At the end of the day, one understands that people are the same everywhere.

Sweden is not an exciting country to live in, but at least it is easy (and fairly cheap) to travel from here. That is always a great advantage! The other day we bought return tickets to Poland for 35€ (for 2 people). How crazy is that?

1 comment:

PorkStar said...

Hey, thanks for the shout out!

Anyone who travels tends to understand the world at large more for sure.

I've been to Sweden and that's one of the places I'd love to stay for a while. Also, from NY to Sweden, I traveled in February for 250 USD. And I could've gotten it for 200 if I traveled the day before.

Nice post!