When I was young I developed a fear.
My parents took my brothers and I everywhere from a young age. America, Brazil, Thailand, Ireland, Spain.When I turned 18 the family trips ended. If I wanted to laze on a tropical island or see the Taj Mahal, it was up to me to make it happen.
There’s always that argument of whether you should spend your hard earned money taking young kids traveling to expensive cities around the world, spending all your bonus on a trip they won’t appreciate at the time or worse – end up forgetting. I thought about this a lot when the family trips came to an end. How could a six year old recognize the beauty of an underground temple in Thailand? How I wished my parents had taken me on these trips when I truly understood the beauty of the world. Never take your wild, loud, uncontrollable children on exotic adventures with you – wait till they’ve reached an age of acceptance and appreciation. Those were the thoughts I’d had for all those years, almost resenting my parents for spoiling my undeveloped eyes and mind.
The Biggest Baddest Bucket List competition has made me reflect on these thoughts once again.
When I was about 7 or 8 I developed this Fear, this anxiety about the world. I think it hit me one day when my family and I were driving in a taxi around Thailand. I was st aring out the window of the taxi at some of the shrines passing by. Some were bright and colorfully painted, some a bit broken down, some held statues of cows, others of elephants with many legs. I made up stories in my mind of what they meant to people and why they were created. Perhaps these were magic creatures that came alive at night leaping into people’s houses tormenting them (much like the Xhosa Tokaloshi). This was maybe why people left gifts like flowers and food, as a peace offering. To say please don’t come into my home eat my biscuits and scare my child to death. Please – here’s a lily. Here’s a piece of bread. I liked making up stories in my head about things I didn’t understand –I still do. What ever they were, those tiny little fairy temples, they were beautiful to me. I didn’t understand them, and that was part of the mystery and magic to me.
While in this semi- daze of fantasy I looked over at the taxi driver who was talking to my Dad about whether we had Lions living in our backyard, I was hit with a sudden surge of sadness. I was sad because I realized this was probably the only place the taxi driver knew and will probably be the only place his eyes get to look at. Although a beautiful place, it would still be the only place he knew. The shrines were normal to him. They were his everyday. The giant gold plated statues, the endless blue sea, the underground temples. This was his world. Perhaps he was happy not knowing what else was out there. Maybe this was my own fear – not his. I started to think about how big the world was, knowing that my tiny little brain couldn’t even comprehend the size of Thailand and wondering if it were even possible to see and experience the whole world. Set foot on every piece of land, taste every conceivable flavor , visit every sacred place of worship, swim in every lake and ocean, see what every human being in the world looked like. My fear was that I wouldn’t get to see and experience every part of everything that existed in the world.
I couldn’t imagine how people were so content living, knowing that there was so much out there that they hadn’t seen. Yes, today we have the Internet so we can “see” everything but we all know it’s a completely different feeling being inside the Vatican than seeing pictures of it or tasting an authentic Indian curry than reading about the flavors. Now that I’m older and my brain is a little larger, I can understand the concept that it’s perhaps impossible to see and experience every little piece of this magnificent world – but I still wish to try.
What I’m trying to say are two things. One – that it is never to early or too late to start traveling because once you do, that magical travel bugs bites you hard in the heart and arse and you are forever curious. For I’ve been curious ever since my first step on foreign Thai land. Two- if I am granted this amazing opportunity to travel the world in 6 months I’ll be able to feed that curiosity and magic that’s inside of me. So please support me in this journey and help me on the road to winning My Biggest Baddest Bucket Bucket List!