“And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” – Pico Iyer
This one is for you, Peter Pan.
Once upon a time I was swept off my feet by a guy who I’d met only a few days before. He carried me away on an adventure and before I knew it I was lost. Lost with him in some kind of parallel universe where we wrote our own rules. Rules for a game we played together so far away from reality.
It was over as sudden as it had began and I probably cried a tear for every second we spent together once it was over - but it was worth every single one of them.
It's hard to describe but it was one of those human encounters where you knew instantly that there was something there, something special you couldn't quite put your finger on.
I tried to resist the temptation at first for various "rational" reasons but once I’d let go of my rationality I fell hard and fast and it felt wonderful. It was passionate and wild and it made me feel young and free and alive.
Isn’t that what traveling does to you? Every new trip you embark on is like a new love affair. No matter how long it lasts, it makes you feel young and wild and free. You escape reality and for a few days or weeks and live by your own rules. Fully absorbed by the new exciting things happening around you, making you feel more alive than you ever could feel going about your daily life.
He said we had met for a reason and I do believe that we did.
It was one of those summer love affairs that swallow you whole, take you on a rollercoaster of emotions and make you believe that everything is possible. They make you forget everything around you. Daily life becomes trivial in comparison to this new adventure you are on and even if they only last a short while, some of them impact you for years to come.
For me, traveling has a similar effect. Some trips literally swallow me whole. They make me live in the moment and appreciate every single day. Exploring new cities, countries and cultures fascinates me so much that I sometimes need to stop and pinch myself to realise how lucky I am to experience something so new and exciting and different from my regular life. And no matter how soon I have to return to reality, some of these trips, places, and the people I’ve met, stick with me forever.
He said that being with me made him feel like he was Peter Pan, like he didn’t have to be a grown up and like it allowed him to stop worrying about daily life and all the things and responsibilities that weigh on you when you are an adult. He said that being with me felt like traveling through Neverland, like it was just us two and like nothing else mattered.
Whenever I travel I get a similar feeling. I feel like I am allowed to let go of my responsibilities and worries. I don’t have to worry about work, household chores, being available for everyone 24/7, etc. The best trips make you feel like Peter Pan in Neverland. It doesn’t matter how old you are and how many responsibilities you have (in reality), it allows you to live in the moment and focus on the here and now without having to worry about the future.
I am a realist but I am also an optimist and at heart I am definitely a dreamer. I'm a romantic and I like to believe that magical things can happen in your daily life if only you allow them to. If you open up to the magic of the moment and if you open up your heart to people that come into your life without trying to predict what will happen, as none of us can, then this is where dreams come true, even if it’s just for a brief moment in time.
With traveling, most of us too, have to accept that we have to return to reality at some point. Often a lot sooner than we want to. However, it is important that we don’t let this fact ruin the magic that travel holds. Open up your heart and take it all in. Follow your dreams and take that trip you’ve always wanted to. There might be a really good “rational” reason why you can’t possibly embark on this one adventure you’ve been fantasising about but once you allow yourself to let go of these “excuses” you’ll realise that it’s worth it.
Each and every one of us is a miracle and while this sounds soppy, it's a scientific fact. Scientists calculated the probability of each of us coming into existence as who we are at about one in 400 trillion. The size of this number is almost impossible to comprehend but it’s nothing short of a miracle and I think we should remind ourselves of this more often. When you meet someone new and connect with that person you have two miracles forming a bond with one another. How can this be anything less than magical and how come we appreciate this so little and let our daily lives and routines distract us from the magic that surrounds us every day?
Travel and great love affairs pull you in and throw you off balance. They make you see, hear, taste and feel new things and, for me, they are what makes life worth living. The things that happen to you and with you when you travel are unpredictable. We can decide where we want to go but we can never foresee who we might meet or what we will experience and how this will make us feel or influence our lives going forward. We just have to be open for all the miracles travel can bring to our lives and not be afraid to let go of our rationality even if it means living in a “parallel universe” for a few days. You’ll come back to reality refreshed and inspired and often looking at things from a new perspective.
Once things were over, I was forced to leave Neverland and return back to reality but I did return looking at things from a new perspective. I will try to hold on to the memories of this wonderful experience and remember what they’ve taught me.
Thanks to the universe for making our worlds collide, if only for a few weeks. Thanks for taking me on a magical adventure, for making me fall for you in such a short amount of time, for letting me in, for making me feel the way you did, for reminding me how important it is to live in the moment, for making me feel like everything was possible and like nothing else mattered, and above all, for showing me the way back to Neverland. I had forgotten how wonderful it is but I promise I’ll go back more regularly now and who knows, maybe I'll see you there ;-)
Author - Natalie Gruner
Nat is one of the co-creators of Travelher and loves travel, family and all things beach. She is currently working in NZ and getting away for an adventure as often as she can.