Ibiza. International party town, home of foam and rave and all night discos. A town where a store named, “Just a fucking store” really isn’t out of place. But today, I arrived at 8:00am on my ship and with departure at 3:00pm I won’t be privy to the nocturnal charade. Just as well, that’s not where I’m at today…or in life for that matter. But I took a walk about town trying to figure out why I’m just not satisfied today. Something’s missing.
This morning I read a fantastic article by acclaimed explorer Mikael Strandberg, http://tycoonsventure.com/Tycoons_Venture/GW1.html . In the article entitled, “I Just Love Life” Mikael explains his philosophy of getting the most out of our short time on earth. He says, “You have to dare, even in every day life, to be able to live life to its fullest”. Then I watched his video at the bottom of the page where he describes his numerous expeditions to find the meaning in life. And at the end, he says, that to really enjoy life, you must communicate with other people.
And when I went out for my walk today that’s exactly what hit me. People here aren’t communicating. Let me explain. How many times on cruise ships do you hear, “All these ports are just the same.” or “ABC” another bloody church, or “oh, another walled city with shops”. And if that’s all you do, that’s exactly what it will become. You don’t learn anything about the country and you have no contact with the people except for shopies and restaurant waiters and of course that’s just service, not meaningful communication. And if that’s the case, the towns will blend together until it’s just a blur of ramparts and patisseries.
But it’s safe. No one has to open up to anyone else. No one has to explore the language and try to communicate. No one has to do anything uncomfortable. No one dares, as Mikael would probably say. If I polled this week’s passenger compliment and said, “So, did you meet any interesting Spaniards today?” they would look at me with an incomprehensible expression. But I realized as I walked, that I hadn’t either.
I spent a month trekking in Tibet last year. The people were so exotic and fascinating that I just wanted to know everything I could about them. I didn’t speak a word of their Tibetan language but I tried every which way I could to communicate. And it was wonderful and meaningful. One day I was attempting to wash my long hair in a bucket outside our “hotel” room. It was so funny that I decided to video myself doing it. A curious Tibetan woman came out of her shop completely baffled as to what I was doing and went about helping me wash my hair, making suggestions with gestures and we laughed and laughed and had a marvelous time. And every time she saw me for the next two days, she came over with treats from her meager kitchen, fresh watermellon or cookies. I met her children and husband and she proudly showed me her shop. I think of her often and remember fondly our time together trying to make a connection as two curious human beings.
But here in Europe I haven’t made the effort and I have paid dearly for it. I could write volumes about the people I encountered in Nepal and Tibet but not one story from western Europe in the past two months. Mikael’s right, you need contact and communication. I have been too wrapped up in my day to day work, not focused on the daily exploration of the world. And it has left me very unsatisfied today.
Few people are explorers in the definition that describes Mikael Strandberg’s life. But you can still explore the world each and every day by reaching out, by connecting with the world and by daring to live.
Thank you Mikael for your insight and may we never forget that life is short and the world is large. There is no time to waste.
“There is more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever been done”
from the song, “The Circle of Life”
To Your Adventures!