Walking back from the airport to my bike, I see monkeys playing on the roof of a nearby building. The streets are dominated by small motorbikes, little white Suzuki Alto taxis and big, black smoke producing, busses and trucks. This place is so different from where I come from, so different from where I grew up and from where I feel at home.
It wasn’t easy to see my parents disappear through the airport gates. In the world of travelling, where everything is new and everything changes every day, it’s a grounding experience to spend time with the people you know, the people who know you. Before they left they signed my bike. Dad wished me a safe ride and mum wrote to arrive home safely. I know it isn’t easy on them that I’m roaming around in these faraway countries on a bike and on my own.
Before their visit to Nepal we hadn’t seen each other for 1.5 years. I know Mum worries about me, and maybe dad too, but he won’t easily show it. When we hugged in front of that gate, them ready to go back to the known world, I had to bite my lip not to have tears running down my cheeks. It was especially hard on Mum, having to leave me behind once more. But this is the way it is for the moment and I am incredibly grateful to have parents who understand this, and support me in all my travelling endeavours.
If you followed my blog you will have noticed that travelling has taught me so many lessons. I’ve grown as a person, through the things I’ve seen, experienced, read and heard. Through the people who have entered my life as well as the moments I had to take care of myself while I was alone. For me, solo travelling opened my eyes in a way that nothing else had done before, and as a result I’m now seeing the world in a different light. To spend time with my parents again after 1.5 years was an experience more eye-opening than any other. All of a sudden it became clear to me where many of my habits originate from. Being away from your roots you learn to observe your own thoughts and habits, instead of treating them as normal. You start to wonder why you think a certain way or why you respond in a specific manner.
When we arrived in the first hotel, Mum and I immediately paid attention to the beautiful garden, the colours of the tablecloths, the shape of the lamps. We were both touched by the small fruit basket in the room with the welcome note. I realised that Mum installed in me an enormous appreciation for the small things as well as the simple beauty of our surroundings. Over dinner, during our first real life conversation since 18 months, dad and I would often make a similar comment. We talk the same, and continued to do that for the rest of the trip.
We decided to go on a hike. The guide said it was an easy one, everyone should be fine. With our daypacks strapped on our backs we started to climb, and climb more, and more. This clearly wasn’t an easy hike for citizens of a nation where the highest hill is only 300 meter. We were at a few 1000 meters altitude without being acclimatised, ascending about 800 meters in one morning! And, although my parents are pretty active, they also aren’t that young anymore.
On top of all that, Dad’s knee wasn’t in perfect shape. However, when I offered to carry his backpack he didn’t want to hear of it. He was going up, by himself, carrying his own backpack, end of story. I had incredible respect for the persistence of both my parents that day. Also, I no longer have to wonder where I picked up the perseverance, pig headedness and I-can-take-care-of-myself attitude.
I could share many more moments, stories and beautiful memories to illustrate, but let’s just get to the point. Most of how we act and what we do, we have copied it from somewhere. Sometimes we do it knowingly, but mostly it is subconscious. As I’ve experienced so vividly by spending this time with my parents, it is incredibly enriching to realise why you act the way you act, speak the way you speak and think the way you think. Once you know where these traits come from, you can actively decide whether you want to be this way or change things. Throughout my travels I have learned there are many areas I can improve in. But more than ever, I’m incredibly grateful to my parents for raising me the way they have, and for sending me into this world with a unique set of traits and skills that enable me to go on amazing adventures like riding a motorbike halfway around the world!
Dankjewel mama en papa!!!