Travelling is the best school

My thoughts have been jumping up and down. Crossing left and right. So much is going through my brain. This trip I did to Thailand was educating in many ways.
In the beginning whenever we got asked where we are from Dawie answered first.
„We’re from Namibia“. In a clear proper English. And independent from who was standing opposite of us, we always got the same reaction. The same question mark in their face. With the following sentence. „Where? From Lybia?“ It is very sad but true. Most people have never even heard about the country called Namibia. And I am not talking about people from 3rd world countries. No, people from first world countries. French, German, Dutch, Australian, American or English people. People who had a top education. You think. Haven’t ever heard about this country with the oldest desert in the world. About a country with a huge European history. I don’t say that you need to know all the countries in the world. Know exactly where they are on this planet. But you should have heard their name before. Know if it is in Asia, America or another continent. And I have to admit, going through that same education. Growing up in a first world country. Getting a good education. I did not know that Namibia used to be a German colony before I visited the country. I learned in school everything about the 30 year long war, about the first and especially everything about the second world war. I knew Germany had some colonies somewhere in the world. But they anyway lost them the latest with the second world war. So didn’t learn more about it. There is so much I didn’t learn in school. I didn’t know that plants and animals can just live from the water in the fog. Survive like that in deserts. I didn’t know that the fish get their bright colour from the sun. Didn’t know where a pineapple grows until I was hiking on my own along the west coast in Ghana and almost stepped on a pineapple lying on the ground. Taking a closer look and realising that the fruit isn’t just lying there but it is growing there. From a plant. On the soil. I didn’t know what it means living in hut build from mud all year round until I stayed in one. That you get hot and cold in the same day. Not spread over seasons. And many other things. Which I all learned by travelling.
So we are over the long explanations that Namibia is a country in Africa which lies right on top of South Africa. Now Dawie just says „I’m from Africa.“ Which doesn’t make the reactions any better. We can see now how the people start thinking. They know Africa. It’s that country where all the black people live. But we are white. How can we be from there. Yeah, you know what, let’s change the topic. Where are you from? London. Interesting. I’ve heard it rains a lot over there, is that true?
But come back to my story. I need to say both sides. There were some people who actually knew where Namibia is. There was the Australian guy who visited Namibia 3 years ago and even went sandboarding. Then the American lady who’s niece travelled to Namibia last year. And the guy from Israel we met in a bar. He didn’t just knew where the country is. He knew about its diamonds. About the diving. And lots more.

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For us together it is already a mix of cultures when we’re together. We both come from two different cultures. Growing up not only on different continents and different climates but as well experiencing a total different childhood. Even though I do have migration background I still experienced a very high living standard which included every year a couple of holidays. They might not have been the most expensive ones, but I did travel from a small age. On the other side is someone who stayed during the weekends in the boarding school because there wasn’t enough money to go home and visit the family. But these different backgrounds don’t come up in our daily life. We live in the same town. Do the same things for hobby or work and now as well travel together. But these differences do come up in a relationship. It’s part of you. So you deal with it. The best way is to talk about it. To get the problems out of the way. But most of the time I see our different backgrounds as a plus. If we’re travelling in the desert Dawie knows to read tracks and decides where we can camp and where not. Even if I did camp a lot as a child is this a different type of camping. Wild camping in a rough environment. The river might come down over night. Or you should protect yourself from the cold temperatures at night. And on the other side it was easy for me using public transport in Bangkok. Changing lines. Making sure we get to the airport in time. Because the pilot won’t wait for us. Growing up in Germany being in time was everything.

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My parents loved hiking. As a child I spend lots of fun time in the alps. Becoming a teenager going to school in a city it was not cool to go hiking. For fun. So I lost interested in it. Now, 10 years later. After spending almost 4 years on the African continent I look different at things. Especially while travelling with someone who hasn’t ever been in such an environment. I learned to love the sport of hiking again. Appreciate fields of flowers on lush green grass. On a long 5 day hike in June this year through the alps together with my dad who is fitter than the 2 of us together we came again a bit closer. Even though it involved a lot of swearing. A lot of sweating. Slipping on ice. Explaining how to walk. Yes for me it was normal to walk through snow. Hike steep trails with cliffs next to you. I grew up in it. But I had to understand that he did not get into this environment as a child. That it is not normal not to be scared looking at a cliff. That you need to learn to walk along a narrow trail without shaking legs. That you need to learn to walk in deep snow uphill. And that I need to share my experience with him so that he learn from me. The way does it with me in the desert. A nature I did not grew up in.

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A full moon in Namib desert feels like someone switched the light on in the middle of nowhere. It’s midnight and you’re trying to sleep. Outside. On your mattress. But the light of the moon just shines right into your eyes.

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I started already as a teenager getting interested in photography. Some people said I should become a professional photographer. I answered there are too many of them. And I’m not good enough. I love taking pictures. But I don’t wanna loose this passion due to a struggle of work. I like keeping it a hobby. Which I can improve while travelling. In Namibia I started seeing the sky at night as a new object to take in front of the lense. Doing that I realised I need to learn more about. Practising it every time I was out at night, I did improve. And still do. Because there is much more to learn. Still.

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Capturing the last full moon eclipse was my last achievement. And included a long learning curve. From the first picture in the evening where I didn’t even get the moon in the visor to the last one which satisfied my standards.

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Looking at that I think it is time to pack the bag again. To travel. To some place new. Some place where I can learn something about a culture I haven’t heard about. To learn about different rituals. Fruits. Food. And lifestyles. To widen the horizon. My horizon. Because there’s still a lot more to learn…

Any suggestions?


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