Do you know those moments of complete happiness that stir up so much inside of you that you feel like crying out of joy? They occur rarely and when they do it feels as if you had never felt it before. Sometimes we realise how incredibly lucky we are – our lives could be so much worse. And yet, we too often slip back into feeling angered about some sort of wrong-doing that has been done to us. We victimise ourselves – almost as if human kind carries this dis-ease of wanting something to be wrong. In truth, if you have a warm bed to sleep in, enough food to live comfortably and if you’re lucky a hot shower everyday…
…you don’t really have any problems.
We Westerners have created this artificial world for ourselves. We have the big concrete cities. All the luxury in the world. But were we in a situation in the Jungle where we would have to fend for ourselves – we would be completely lost. Our guide, conversely, knew the properties of each and every plant we saw on our trek. He knew how to start a fire without the use of any matches or firelighter. He knew how to cook rice with a bamboo tube. He knew which plants need to be pressed and rubbed on your skin when you have an injury.
He is not scared to live -he knows how to survive.
Travelling has taught me that I don’t have any problems. All problems I have are self created. And if they are created by someone else and I allow it to happen, then it is essentially a self-created evil that I allow. Put simply: Life is not that complicated. But somehow we like to make it that way. Too much of a good thing, I guess, is not good enough, perhaps? We keep wanting, searching, over-analysing…we need something to worry and stress about. Because…what if there was nothing to complain about?
What would we live for, right?
In the midst of the Laotian jungle – literally in the middle of nowhere – I spent an evening by the fire together with my friend, our guide and his helper (who did not speak a word of English). He was assisting the guide and us to build a bamboo tent and cook; and if necessary cut some branches so we could comfortably walk on our off-the-beaten-path adventure (for us…the spoilt tourists who want to experience what ‘off-the-beaten-path’ means…). He had the most genuine smile – a smile that suggested to me that he is a good guy. He observed the two blonde girls curiously as if we were a species from another universe. But it wasn’t creepy – it was curiosity in the good sense.
He seemed to be happy to be spending the evening with us.
It could have turned out to be creepy. Imagine…two blonde girls with two Lao men in the middle of nowhere. I think both of us were a bit apprehensive about the idea when we booked our little adventure in the Laotian jungle. But, it turned out to be one of the best evenings I had had throughout this RTW adventure. What was it that made this evening so wonderfully special?
I was on an off-the-beaten-path adventure doing something I had never done before. This is what makes me come alive: Adventure. Dragging myself out of my comfort zone. New stuff. Exciting stuff.
We helped building a tent made out of bamboo and banana leaves! We slept in the wild under the Lao starry sky huddled up next to each other in our sleeping bags. We drank coffee out of bamboo tubes. We crossed an ice-cold river.
If this doesn’t scream ADVENTURE, then I don’t know what does!
Our guide carefully prepared delicious meals using and then presented it on a gigantic banana leaf: yummy barbecued pork, my beloved sticky rice beautifully prepared in a bamboo tube ‘the old fashioned way’, a delicious soup with delicate greens – everything tasted so incredibly good.
We were listening to a compilation of chill-out tunes that Chrystelle’s ex-boyfriend had put together – it was magical. There we were humming to tunes of Coldplay and the like – and to music I had never heard before but stirred up so many emotions inside of me. We chatted about life, lost loves (naturally her ex was a topic which we widely discussed), our hopes and dreams. It was peaceful.
An evening meant to be.
At some point we just sat in silence, I glanced up to the sky and saw all these beautiful stars shining back at me. Thank you thank you thank you! Thank you universe for being so kind to me. For giving me this opportunity to travel the world. I’ve been blessed beyond comprehension. I’m doing what I always wanted to do. I am fulfilling my dream. And most importantly, I’m realising more and more: I don’t have anything to worry about.
Making me the richest person on the planet.
Have you experienced an intense moment of happiness while travelling? Please share your thoughts with me in the section below.