Travel Journal Of A Bohemian






 

I’m not a professional traveler, but a person who believed, from the early twenties, that life was a journey. In my mid-twenties, I worked solely for one purpose: to make money for a full-scale world travel experience. Meanwhile during my spare time, I traveled the neighboring countries and also around my beautiful home country, South Korea. However when I had finally saved enough and was prepared to begin my trekking, a different and unexpected condition showed up at my doorstep. Rather than on traveling, I used up my savings on learning something else. But what’s more interesting is that even though I am now broke, I still get to travel around the world. (And no, I’m not MI6). Even though I haven’t quite used up all of the pages in my travel journal, I’ll share my experiences. To note, the purpose of my travel journal is not to deliver information, but to relay sentimental travel anecdotes and lessons I’ve learned. Besides, the destinations I write about are mostly places that veer off the beaten path, not quite the main tourist sites of those countries.

 

The First Travel Journal Entry

Ever since childhood, I wanted to become an archaeologist just like Indiana Jones. So my lifetime wish was to see the majestic Pyramids and experience the ancient culture, which is why my first destination was, rather bravely, set to Egypt. My travel companion was Natsuko, my Japanese friend. These two Asian girls with only a Lonely Planet book as a guide flew into Cairo, Egypt. This travelogue was really fun for me to write because this trip was one that really left an impression.  I experienced the dynamic Cairo downtown, and visited the depressing Pyramids. After we accidentally joined an unplanned desert trip my life completely changed. And, I felt a need to explain why this day became the most important day for me. So this is a diary journal of the day we headed to the Egyptian desert.

Travel Journal Of A Bohemian - Wisdom's Webzine

Hi dear depressing Pyramids.

………………………………………………………………

We failed to rent our own car from Cairo to the desert.

So we couldn’t help but beg one of the locals from a desert oasis village to take us with him.

Tons of packages were loaded onto the roof of a shabby van of an unidentified company.

One after another, people were continuously squashed into the van without regard for capacity.

So then I, Natsuko and two tour guides, Shady and Mohamed, were cooped up in the very back seats.

Everyone, except the four of us, were seminomads returning from the city after getting supplies.

After I barely made my seat comfortable, I made eye contact with a kid sitting in front of me.

I suddenly remembered a candy bar in my pocket so I handed it to the kid. The kid was so excited she lost her inhibitions while her mom watched on with the utmost protection.

Mohamed threw in a joke and the whole car burst out laughing.

We, foreigners, were naturally absorbed.

The ruddy horizon, the endless barren soil…

The desert was getting ready to welcome night,

and I fell asleep soaking in the softly-echoing Arabic music and sunset.

Maybe after a few hours of travel, when I couldn’t even guess how far we had traveled,

the car stopped and I opened my eyes. It seemed the driver would take a quick rest.

Outside the window, it was complete darkness – real pitch-black darkness that I’d never seen before. I suddenly felt afraid of that darkness. That is when I realized that I’m really in the desert. That’s when I said goodbye to the civilization I was used to.

I thought I had to break my fear so I courageously stepped out from the van.

Surprisingly, in this place that I thought was completely dark, everything existed: the stars, the moon, the earth, and even the sound of wind grazing my ears. Here, where space and time were meaningless, just the infinite ‘Universe’ seemed to exist. At that very moment I was overwhelmed by a feeling of vastness, and fear engulfed my body. It was the kind of fear that sent me reeling; I felt so tiny, insignificant, and shameful. It even felt as though my body ceased to exist and that shock was too immense. Feelings of being incomplete and the thought that I couldn’t become one with everything else that existed as ‘one’ in the darkness… but at the same time, I felt hope that some form of ‘completion’ could definitely exist in me too. The moment I felt this, I resolved to find that complete being. I resolved that I would absolutely find the reason for living, the reason why I was born on Earth.

A turning point in one’s life abruptly comes along without a notice.

To me, the biggest turning point of my values came along that night in this desert.

The shabby van that seated this shocked me drove on and on in the desert

and at around midnight, we reached a small base camp in the middle of the desert.

It was a camp where huts were loosely built with tree branches piled off to the side.

We briefly unpacked our luggage, changed to comfy t-shirt and shorts, and left the hut bare foot.

And, something we could never ever imagine was waiting for us…

A few steps ahead, there was a big-swimming-pool-sized hot spring. It was a completely natural hot spring from which spring water surged from the desert ground.

We, not caring who would be first, jumped into the water.

The warmth covered up the whole body and the bubbly water floated up around me.

I paid no heed to the fact that it was so dark that we couldn’t see each other.

I even forgot about my t-shirt sticking to my body.

I decided to forget about ‘me’. As I let go of myself, my mind was infinitely at comfort.

Natsuko and I were just happy paddling our feet in the water, yelling out like kids.

I couldn’t help but repeat ‘it’s paradise’ floating on the water and seeing the starry night sky and silhouettes of palm trees. It felt like I had just felt become nature itself. I felt freedom, for the first time, at the hot spring in the middle of desert.

No longer did I fear being distant from civilization or feel the shock from the vast nature. At the moment the infinite universe was affectionately embracing me and warming me, I once again thought of that ‘complete being’.

Oh, the existence we call ‘God’ is present everywhere, right at this moment, even in me. And, if “I,” the ego, am not present then I could become this complete being.

Like this, Great Nature was offering me embracement, teaching me every moment.

Gradually, I learned to expose myself to Nature’s love, which felt like Mom and Dad’s love.

From a trip to Egypt when I bravely embarked on an unforeseen desert trip, I learned to break my conceptions and outer shell, one by one.

This was how a new life to find ‘real me’ began, so did my wanderlust.

To be continued….  

Travel Journal Of A Bohemian - Wisdom's WebzineThe last shot is from the hotel room of the civilized world.

As I entered the desert, I mostly forgot to take pictures.

Why don’t you enjoy travel journals with not so many pictures included?

Just bring up your imagination!