Being more, doing less
We have been offline over the summer, as some of you might have noticed. So, where are we? How are we? What are our plans? Do we continue to travel? We´ve been confronted a lot with questions along those lines, ever since we came back – understandably. However, being back in a country where people hate uncertainty more than the devil hates holy water, we didn´t want to let the omnipresent anxiousness and fear that took hold of many people in these unusual times, rub off on us. In the end, uncertainty is what we chose when we quit our jobs and started travelling. I strongly believe that only in the face of uncertainty and discomfort do we have the chance to find out who we really are, what we are capable of and this is also the terrain of life where you grow as a person. Moreover, when you start confronting the Siamese twins – uncertainty and discomfort – you will be guaranteed an adventure. And shouldn´t life be an adventure and not just a task that needs to be mastered? As Gerald Hüther, a well-known German brain scientist, neurobiologist and author once said: If there hadn´t been human beings who time and again followed their dreams, we would still live in the trees. When you follow your dreams and your heart, you can´t avoid uncertainty and discomfort, can you? Once you´re on that path, life will continuously throw obstacles at you to test you how bad you really want it.
But back to our summer. When Covid-19 broke out in March, we were in Mysore, a medium-sized Indian city in the south of the country. After one year on the road, we were used to constantly changing circumstances and adapting to them. So, we stayed calm and decided to stay put until the storm was over. But as we all know, the storm hasn´t settled to this day. We couldn´t have possibly imagined that three weeks later, we would be back in Germany and spend the summer growing veggies and living in a caravan, instead of exploring India´s north and experiencing the magical nature of the Himalayas. I mean, we didn´t do much planning on our travels, but just two weeks earlier, we agreed that we didn´t want to go back to Europe in 2020. As the late John Lennon already said: Life is what happens to you, while you are busy making other plans. So here we were. Having become quite the experts in adaption, this sudden change of everything, made us truly tumble quite a bit. Having spent an entire year almost exclusively outside in nature, the thought of being locked inside a city was appalling to us. Luckily, Mia´s Dad has quite a big plot of land with a caravan, separated from the house by the railroads. He generously invited us to stay with him and spend the summer in his little paradise. Since we anyway planned on living on a farm for a while, learning about growing veggies and doing gardening, we started our own gardening project in our new home. We dug veggie-patches and started planting all sorts of plants and seeds: Beans, beets, cucumbers, squash, pepper, chili, cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, radish, rucola… you name it and all sorts of herbs like parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary and sage. We learnt about the seasonality of the different types of vegetables and its specific needs. Moreover, we were harvesting the various fruit trees that are spread over the plot of land like apple, pear, cherry, mirabelle and plum as well as berry bushes like strawberry, raspberry, gooseberry, and currant. In a world where almost everything you desire is readily available, we forget where the things we consume actually come from, how they are made, how they grow, how they are produced. We only get to see the final product. It is utmost satisfying to watch the seeds you planted transform into small plants, getting stronger and stronger with each passing day, until they start blossoming, feeding bees with their nectar and finally developing miniature fruit that shape into luscious delicacies just waiting to be picked and eaten. You just need to beat the snails and the mice. By digging in the ground, you literally become grounded. Nature unfolded its beauty in front of our eyes all summer long. It constantly does so. We all just lost our ability to recognize the magic of nature´s doing, its perfection, its symmetry, its connectedness with everything – including us.
If there is one thing we learned on our travels, it is that everything is connected. That we are all connected with each other. That if we do not care about nature, then we don´t care about us, because we are nature. The pace at which we are going through life is just insane. But we don´t see how fast we are going as long as we are in the eye of the storm. That is when we function according to the rules of society. When we struggle, we get right into the storm and we fight our way back to the eye. But, imagine, what if – what if we decide to leave the storm altogether? What would happen? We might realize the absurdity of the predominant life concepts that we have and the life goals that we pursue. Let me ask you, over the course of the summer, did you once take the time to watch a butterfly hop from one flower to another? Did you at least once wake up before sunrise and listened to the beautiful concert of the birds in the trees? Did you rescue a bee that was trapped inside your home? Did you pick some fruits from a tree? I rarely did those things before. I was always busy with something else. But while we are chasing the next adrenaline rush, the next flirt, the next new thing, whatever it is, we are missing all the small miracles that are happening constantly around us. But just because you are travelling, it doesn´t mean that you are escaping the rush of life. You might not believe me, but there is a thing called travel blues. If you are traveling long-term, you are exposing yourself to a lot of new things, constantly changing environments and people. If you take your rushing and excitement seeking mindset on your travels, not seldomly you will soon find yourself in midst of the travel blues – tired, lethargic, and burned-out. From the very beginning, we decided to travel slow…as slow as our visas allowed us to be. Nevertheless, our brains and bodies needed to process a lot. We took brakes when we or one of us felt like we needed one and just stayed at certain places for a few days or even weeks. We re-programmed our mind, until our inner brainfucker, who constantly tells us to do more and who is more afraid of boredom than of anything else, became silent. Only then you will experience the true meaning of the quote: The journey is the reward.
This brings the story back to our veggie-garden. After a long and exciting journey, we enjoyed being at one place, getting back into some routine and structure, being able to focus more on ourselves and on us as a couple (which often is not that easy when you´re on the road dealing with everyday challenges like organizing food, shelter and transport). As a freshly certified yoga-teacher, Mia started giving open-air yoga classes in our garden. We got back into a food- (even though we deeply miss Indian and Sri Lankan food) and sport- and meditation-routine, we managed our finances and we actively worked on our relationship as traveling also took its toll on us. We processed all the beautiful experiences and adventures and most importantly we cultivated and manifested our life philosophy that is so easy to live by while travelling and is being challenged once you are back in your old surroundings. We didn´t force ourselves to make any plans, but we kept on believing that the right things will come into our lives if we stay true to our hearts. And so it was… we will share more about our next adventures soon. We will start sharing our reflections, thoughts, and experiences more frequently again. We hope you keep following us and enjoying our stories and pictures.