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  • Writer's pictureMateusz Górecki

10 years earlier

"You pack a backpack, buy a ticket, leave - I tell you, Górecki, the best solution. If that's what most Poles would do we would live in a wonderful country. Imagine- a change of perspective, so much knowledge and that awareness they would have acquired- a miracle." Yes, I agree that a trip can give you a lot, but only if you're aware of it, if you're properly prepared for it-and I'm not talking about equipment, tickets, all your gear, up-to-date maps on your iPhone, but what you took with you, in my opinion the most important attribute of a traveler, your head!

In my life I have met a mass of people declaring themselves real travelers. Asia, the States, Australia, Iran, the Caucasus, a bit of Africa.

Memories? What are they? After returning home, I noticed over time that we have an uncanny tendency to whitewash them. To leave only a faint essence of what happened.

Why stand in the dust/mud/rain/snow (delete appropriate) by the side of the road and stick your pleading gaze into the next driver dripping with charming sweat or smelling of Sunday pork chops?

Stopping, and going deeper, your journey is not just moving from place to place/geography, but more importantly what you have in your mind, it is a state of your mind. Your life, every step you take is a journey of sorts. It is only up to you and your attitude what it will look like. A Czech friend of mine, during our trip together, started humming a song that later became permanently engrained in my head. Its author was Karel Kryl: "The road is dust, gravel and compacted clay, gray streaks in your hair. The road is star trails jewels joined by stone and feathers of desire from the wings of Pegasus."

With the next trip you take, you realize that the hardest part is the route that leads you to face your dream. Suddenly, after days, months, years of planning, gathering materials, money, meeting the right people, you reach the point where you have the opportunity to realize your plan, to turn your dream into reality.

Think this is the easiest point? You've just been hit with a left hook and you're lying inert on the boards. This is the limit that most people, including you, will not cross. You won't make it. You are too weak. Not determined enough. You don't have the balls to give yourself a chance...unless you take that big risk, face yourself. It will be up to you to make it. How you learn from your life, how you face your experiences and how you use the tools you have created to achieve your goal.

This road is strewn with difficulties and obstacles.

You will be forced to ask yourself many questions. Everyday ones. Simple ones. Seemingly trivial. You will be annoyed, furiously annoyed. Many times you'll want to throw it all away, shelve it all, with the familiar folder "I'll do it later," meaning in your case-never!

Can you foresee the risks that may await you when you undertake the pursuit of your goal? Personally, in all my travels, I have not met one. Admittedly, there is no algorithm by which you can calculate risks with any probability. What you can do, however, is install a sieve in your head that will "sift out" real risks from those that are manufactured only in your thoughts, frosted with prejudices, stereotypes, put there by your culture, relatives and, above all, yourself.

All the necessary sources are next to you, you are just too lazy to reach for them. You are not interested in them. You pour over them. Again, you open the "for later" folder in your brain, you are plain ignorant. Instead, you imagine a situation and begin to build sharp entanglements around it, mapping out all your emotions. Why? It's easier that way. You don't have to put too much effort into making decisions.

Imagine two situations. In the first you board a plane, in the second you start a journey in a car, with which do you identify greater emotion? You have been in contact with the car since you were a child. It is nothing new to you. Something everyday, ordinary. You get in, close the door, fasten your seatbelt and get on your way. In the situation of an airplane, when you travel by it less often you identify stronger emotions with it. Hearing later on TV that a plane crashed somewhere and seeing the number of victims, knowing the statistics you will still be guided by emotions.

Here comes the need to put a sieve in your head to free yourself from this type of emotion.


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