Why do we travel ?

Introduction : Why do I travel? — Travel Memoires

Tang Paradise, Xi’an — China

This introduction goes straight to the point. To the point when I started travelling. The point that turned a young and naive mountain boy to an addicted journeyman in search of what I can only define as “more”. More. And more again.

It was summer holidays. I was 14 year-old. It visited England for the first time. It was back when catching a plane was a big deal. My family was reunited for my departure as I was about to leave and never coming back, even if everybody knew I would have only been away for a week. Once there I was amazed by a different world. I felt like Colombo discovering the Americas. My head was rumbling with wonderings and stupefaction.

That would have been the first of many summer trips that would evoke such feeling which would slowlier become the main reason and addiction of every following journey.

Way before being a tourist was uncool, I’ve grown to dislike the concept of “visiting”. I was more interested in understanding the reasons behind a different culture and the cause of my astonishment. In that moment, I unconsciously stopped being a tourist and became a “experiencer”. A travelling junkie that wouldn’t be satisfied by seeing new places, but had to absorb them, consume the essence of them. In what way? My technique is to become a citizen of where I go. Which shouldn’t be confused with fitting in, but with becoming: transforming myself into what is around me. Let me explain: I’ve always been very good a becoming and I only needed a few weeks to start the metamorphosis. China, my greatest adventure, required two months before I actually started the mutation of making myself become Chinese. I remember one day waking up in my flat and walking to the bathroom and for just one second being surprised of seeing a caucasian face in the mirror. The body doesn’t have the capability of morphing that the mind has.

My first impact with Chinese Characters

If this sounds pretentious, it’s because my writing skills don’t meet the strength of the emotions and feeling. I can blame it to the language, not being my native one, but I’d be lying. Well, let’s lie and let’s just say that English has always been one of my greatest allies around the world, but it has also been able to be my worst enemy, by hiding from me the deep meaning of a statement or the non-literal connotation of an expression. In a way the language itself (or the lack of language) has been one of the greatest motivations that always pushed me towards more. The bigger was the difficulty, the stronger my attempt to overcome it would have been. The more it was uncomfortable, the more I felt.

Alex Went East

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