Life is a neverending journey and what wonder will we find on our way if we walk with an open heart?
Zoé gave me an answer to this question with her picture “The Neverending Journey”. In the shine of thousands of stars, it shows a free and colorful world in which we all live happy and loving, free and peaceful with one another, regardless of whether we are black or white, have fur or can fly. Love, happiness, freedom and peace are some of the greatest treasures that we can find on our way.
But if I turn my gaze away from the picture and look out of the window or at the latest Apple news, then it seems that we as humanity have somehow took the wrong turn. Racism, sexism and speciesism seem to be some of the biggest struggle for us.
If we look at these three ugly grimaces for a while, we notice that they are not only small and pathetic, but also have a common origin. Namely egoism. As if they were related to each other or even as if they were actually not different phenomena, but only the expression of the same way of thinking (or perhaps better a mental handicap), which only shows itself in slightly different but basically the same form. The assumption: I am worth more than you because I have a different skin color, a different gender or at some point someone assigned me to a different species. Or in short, I am worth more because I am me and not you.
Basically, this exposure of egoism is a good realisation. Because it seems that happiness and peace, love and freedom are just a breath away. Almost within reach. We just have to open our closed fist, let go of our excessively exaggerated ego, exhale and the next time we inhale, catch it. Because life invites us every moment. Invites us to become a part, to participate in the bigger picture and promises us that in this process of becoming one we will not lose anything, give up anything, but only win. We just have to trust ourselves.
When I look back to Zoé’s picture, I remember that people often call it “dreamy”. And sometimes it almost sounds like a life in the shadow of huge, gray skyscrapers, a 40 hour week, and the need for scientific studies to prove that fruits and vegetables are healthy for us are somehow more real.
As if it were normal to eat someone because they don’t seem quite as intelligent to us, as if it were our right to let drown someone in the Mediterranean Sea, and as if it was important to defend these values.
And whenever it sounds like that, I feel the need to invite people to go on a trip again. Because maybe that’s one of the wonderful things traveling does with us. Changing your perspective, getting out of the routine and being able to find new answers to old questions.
Overcoming the ego is possible when we leave our doubts and fears behind us, when differences have no meaning, because we recognize that every life is unique, when we stop comparing, stop being jealous because each of us chooses his very own way of life and thus can develop his true potential, and when exploitation no longer makes sense because we have found meaning and fullness in ourselves.
If you see conscious travel as a way of saving the world, Zoé’s picture also deals with a topic that suddenly became very actual in lockdown. What does travel mean at all? Do we always need an airplane, a train or a car?
Or can we close our eyes, ride a bicycle through the starry sky and on the back of a turtle that is older than time, fly through the glow of the millions of stars and understand that each of us has the universe within and we can find all the treasures of the world right there, in us?