Anina Tepnadze, Tbilisi
“Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than a moving plane, ship or train. There is an almost quaint correlation between what is in front of our eyes and the thoughts we are able to have in our heads: large thoughts at times requiring large views, new thoughts new places.
The Art of Travel (a film produced in 2008)
All presents are unpacked; the clothes that I was wearing in a foreign country for days are being washed in the washing machine; I have put away my passport, but I haven’t changed the time on my cell phone yet. I use a standard text when answering interested individuals’ questions: telling them that there are warm and noisy people in Barcelona;
that both men and women have big tattoos and that the weather is perfect. No, they don’t really resemble Georgians. I explain that I didn’t spend much time on the beach, but rather was attending fiesta most of the time. And that I couldn’t buy any clothes because I didn’t have enough money.
I saw the Sagrada Familia under the cover of the night, and I would stay homeless in the Parc de la Ciutadella with great pleasure. While it was raining nonstop in Tbilisi, I walked down all the small streets and alleys in Barcelona; my legs were tired much of the time, I gave them a rest and then they recovered; I listened to Radiohead, Air and PJ Harvey, though most of all I liked DJ Maceo Plex, who is not that well-known. I slept on a lawn and I squeezed my beloved one’s hand upon seeing something amazing and unusual. However, apart from souvenirs, photos and a refreshed face, there are plenty more things that I have brought from this trip and that I’m not telling everyone. But I am going to share them with you, especially as you have already got familiar with the aforesaid standard text.
So, here are 5 things that travelling has taught me:
1. Comfort is not that vitally important
One won’t be able to take everything along with him/her and there is nothing bad about that. Hair could be dried pretty well even without a blow dryer. One can easily do without a soft and fluffy dressing gown. If you are eager to take a photo camera on your first trip, during your next trip you will remember how reluctantly you schlepped it around and you will confine yourself to your mobile phone camera. The more you travel, the less items you need. Moreover, if you take the whole house along with you, what’s the point of escaping your habitual environment?
2. Travelling makes one less pretentious
In your hometown, you know exactly where it is worth eating and where it’s not. Frankly speaking, I have refused many times to go out to a cheap cafe in Tbilisi, referring to the poor service or overcrowdedness. In contrast, when in Barcelona, I was literally hunting for some cheap food and beer. Though, in a café where I happened upon, when a waiter brought me a dish that was tasteless, I did not even complain. It was probably due to my broken Spanish.
3. There is no such thing as comfortable footwear
Any footwear will become uncomfortable after 10 hours of standing on your feet and 14 hours of walking. The majority of footwear is simply not designed for travelling.
4. There is no time either
Monday is not a hard day, unless you remember that it’s Monday. What a blessing that you don’t have to set an alarm clock before going to bed. How lucky you are that you don’t receive promotional messages and don’t have to worry about the traffic jams…It is really worth flying a thousand miles to experience that. There are no plans and strictly set break hours. It’s also easy to back out of what you’ve promised yourself. A list of the places to visit is a tentative one. So what, that you slugged in bed for quite a long time and therefore missed the whole day. This bed was located in another country. That is just as good.
5. Rethinking one’s life is a part of the journey
One of my friends broke up with her boyfriend and another one quit her job after travelling. Georgian companies (and, actually, Georgian lovers, too) are probably aware of the magic power of travelling and that’s the reason why they are so unwilling to let us go on vacation. Once you wake up in another country, you remember what a pleasant feeling it is to care for yourself and, as a result, you change things in a positive way upon returning home. You suddenly become daring and risky: once you endured sleeping on board of plane, is there anything worse that could happen in your life?
Apart from the things that I have listed above, I also learned that Google map is an invaluable app; that vendors often cheat when returning change to you and that Liceu is Barcelona’s most beautiful metro station.
Since my list is nearly finished and this blog post has almost reached a dangerous 600-word limit, the only thing I would like to add is: don’t listen to your serious inner voice that tells you that traveling is costly and obtaining a visa is a real headache. Don’t go to Batumi this summer. You know that place so well that you could easily rate the Ajarian khachapuri (cheese pie) beforehand. Travel to a place you’ve never been before, beyond your comfort zone.