Travel Debate & Coelho’s Wisdom

Good Morning World!

Now that I am missing my Yoga class before work because depending on public transport sucks, I am spending my morning at the beautiful public library to talk to you again about traveling and my inner debate about it, published 2 months ago. My doubts about traveling came with changing continents, again, about not feeling home, anywhere, about not being able to imagine to live in my country of origin, about being so far away from the beloved ones. It also kind of seems like traveling has become more of a race today than something unique and special. It is like collecting stamps and putting them in an album.Which is nothing bad, generally. People try to get as many as possible and they try to travel as fast as possible just to grind out the kilometers, mark their maps, show the world how  It’s almost like a competition. I use tripadvisor and always mark where I went because I love to have a look at it and go back to it, this way I don’t forget about even the little towns I’ve crossed. But the system is kinda crazy. It counts the number of countries and cities you’ve visited and compares your map to your friends map. What do people really travel for nowadays? Now that you can go from A to B in no time and you can comfortably travel wherever you’re going.

Click here to go back to it or just read the quoted text below.

Sept 23rd: Traveling. Loss vs. Gains of Personality

Kris Readings • about life • short readings 2 Comments

a) Travel the world to find out who you really are.

b) Travel the world to find out what you really need.

c) Travel the world to find out what you want.

d) Travel the world to see who you really need.

e) Travel the world to find out who really needs you.

Bullshit or not?

By taking some time away from your comfortable and well-known surroundings, heading (far) away from home, for (quite) a while, what does really change for you? How does it affect yourself? Your…personality. Are you really ‘finding yourself’ and what does that mean? I believe it is a conclusion of a few thesis’ that I have listed above. You find out about your needs, your true wishes, desires. You find out who stands by you, and you find out what and who you miss and / or what, n fact, you couldn’t care less about.

Can you really find yourself while getting lost in other countries? Or are you probably even running in risk of losing your true self? Changing, but, eventually to something you think you are, but which is just a changed copy of yourself?

When you leave your hometown for a couple of months, what you really do is leaving your past behind. You leave behind the people who really know ‘who’ you are, let’s say, what has happened in your life, what you’ve been doing most of your life, your secrets, your highs, your lows, what makes you happy and what upsets you. Now, you meet new people, and you can show them whatever you want them to see, right? Could you, in a way, become that self you might be creating, even accidentally?

Often people come back home after a while abroad and their friends feel excited before they come back. They fear the change in their beloved ones, they fear that the person is so changed, that they won’t get along as before. Isn’t this crazy?
What really makes us think of this kind of change? And why do we automatically categorize it as ‘growth’, instead of probably considering the person being lost?

I had it myself already, people told how they feel like I am changed, like I had grown, like I have a different glint in my eyes etc. And I just took it, but I never got concerned, as I kept the same friends around and nothing seemed to have changed to much.

But then, I also had people telling myself that I am completely lost. A complete lost soul who doesn’t know where to go, what to do. And it does concern me.

Take this popular proverb: ‘Home is where your heart is.’

Google it and you get tons of results for illustrations.

For years now I am trying to interpret this phrase. What does it actually mean? Where your heart is physically, so, practically just where you are is where you’re home? Or, could it be, where your beloved ones are? Like another thing to say, ‘Home is wherever I’m with you’. That feeling that you have when you are with your partner and it feels homy.

What does it mean to you? Home is where your heart is.

I have been trying to figure out answers to all these questions but I can’t. I’ve been away from home now for long. Every day is different. I have no idea which choices are the right ones. I turn every thought around 1000 times. One day I want to quit drinking, partying, and take care of myself, be healthy. The other day I want to get back to that crazy life. F/ all. I feel like I am lost. I don’t regret anything at all, and I would never decide not to travel, because of everything else it gave me, knowledge, emotions, scars. But I am not sure if I have found ‘myself’. And I am not sure if I have changed at all.

But blame it on traveling itself?



Now that I am in Calgary I finally got my very own access card to the public library and sooo many books that I can read.  Of course when I first made my way through the labyrinth of bookshelves I checked Fiction, ‘C’ to check what they have of Coelho. And boom, one of his newest works, ‘Aleph‘ was sitting there waiting for me. I’ve read almost all of his books and was waiting for this one. Being through the first 15 pages I couldn’t believe it. It was like an answer to what was currently troubling my mind! Exactly at the right time. All my questioning about Traveling and if it might just make you feel more lost than ever after a while instead of learning about yourself, knowing what you really want, are swept away with his beautiful words. My doubts and fears which I expressed in my post from the end of September are drowned in new hope. I’ll quote one of his powerful paragraphs to the subject right here and will post a book review in the next couple of days. Enjoy!

Coelho, Paulo: Aleph (2011), p. 11f.

“The great lessons I’ve learned had been precisely those that my journeys had taught me. […] the truth is, I’ve always traveled like a mad thing, ever since I was young. Recently, though, I seem to be spending my life in airports and hotels, and any sense of adventure has rapidly given way to profound tedium. When I complained that I never stayed in one place for very long, people were horrified:”But it’s great to travel. I wish I had the money to do what you’re doing!”

Travel is never a matter of money but of courage. I spent a large part of my youth traveling the world as a hippie, and what money did I have then? None. I barely had enough to pay for my fare, but I still consider those to have been the best years of my youth: eating badly, sleeping in train stations, unable to communicate because I didn’t know the language, being forced to depend on others just for somewhere to spend the night.

After weeks on the road, listening to a language you don’t understand, using a currency whose value you don’t comprehend, walking down streets you’ve never walked down before, you discover that your old “I”, along with everything you ever learned, is absolutely no use at all in the face of those new challenges, and you begin to realize that buried deep in your unconscious mind there is someone much more interesting and adventurous and more open to the world and to new experiences.

“Our life is a constant journey, from birth to death. The landscape changes, the people change, our needs change, but the train keeps moving. Life is the train, not the station. And what you’re doing now isn’t traveling, it’s just changing countries, which is completely different.”


How beautiful are these words? They had enough strength to make me feel good about where I am again. Whatever it is I am doing, as long as I follow my heart and don’t start choosing the most comfortable way, I am on the right track on my train. I marked the sentences I consider most fitting to my debate bold.

Fellow travelers, I hope you’re giving yourself a big hug right now!



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