One of the most popular quotes amongst travelers is ‘it’s not about the destination, but the journey.’ Yet how often do you find yourself wishing for the next thing and pushing aside the present for the future. Another world famous traveler quote is ‘Carpe Diem’ – seize the day! Seize the opportunity! But what about that 13 hour flight or 9 hour train ride where your cramped and tired and can’t get to sleep! It can be very hard during those times to seize the moment! … Or enjoy the journey!!
On my trip across Asia and Europe, I plan to go completely overland or sea. No planes. This way I will see the transition of landscapes, people, and culture. It’s not the most efficient by time or cost but it is about the journey right?? It’s not always easy either. In fact on my 9 hour train ride from Beijing to Hohhot right now can seem long and endless. The playlists get old, tired eyes fall shut as you read, and studying Russian starts to give you a headache. Even the views can get monotonous. Desert after desert, field after field, mountain after mountain. It’s all brown and dry and washed out by the midday sun…
But why do I travel? To see things I’ve never seen and will never see again. So as I pass this industrial plant, I watch the men climbing the rigs, and as I pass the field I watch the shepherd keep his sheep in line, as I pass the small town I watch the man set his trash on fire in his backyard, as I pass farms I watch the men laying the foundation for their next harvest. All these people are living their normal life and for a moment I witness it. I will never see them again but for a second I can imagine what their daily life and routine is. Years to come I can think back to that train ride and imagine where those men are now? Have they had a chance to travel, have they moved, are they still living there, have they started a family, or are they still there working? I will never know. And they will never know I have a first hand account of that time in their life.
As the journey continues and the destination gets closer and closer and I yearn for the comfort of leaving my cramped seat, I will continue to witness the small moments of rural China. Carpe Diem.