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Published: February 7th 2018
LGBT flag flying high
Here I am, back with a very special blog entry; in fact this entry is made special by its simplicity and complexity at the same time, by its lack of importance and, maybe the most important moment of my life since I started writing this blog. What makes it special you say?
Well, this is the first blog written since I permanently left Asia, having started TravelBlog when I decided to leave Europe for the Far East in 2010. It has been almost half a year since my "return" - to use this term lightly as I have returned to a country I actually never had been to. I live in England now, where I work and where also THH moved at the beginning of this year. A happy ending of my story you might say, although the end is not even near (I hope). So, this entry is special because it is the first one written by me living in Europe. It is also quite special because I noticed something since I left Asia - a type of writer's block related to my travel blog. I have been thinking very hard why my travel muse seems to have disappeared
and I have played with the thought of just letting it go. My leaving Asia would have been an adequate requiem for my blog.
So why am I still writing you might ask? I would love to say that it is for the readers and part of it is - but it is first and foremost for myself. As a tourism academic and someone who has chosen traveling as his ultimate goal and purpose in life, I feel the need to report my emotions, experiences, feelings and encounters when I navigate the blue planet. In fact, reading back on my older entries it seems to read the mind of past me, a much younger, naiver and maybe more enthusiastic version of myself. I think this is the real beauty of keeping any kind of diary - an inner dialogue with yourself.
But the real problem is quite different, or so I think. Living in Asia has been a challenge, a crazy journey so far out of my comfort zone that most people who have never taken a similar step could hardly understand what it means. Getting used to the crowds, the lights, the noise, the food, the culture,
the madness, the surreal, has been a long journey and I have done the possible to give my dear readers a small slice of what all of this meant to me. And now? Now what? I am living in Bournemouth, a coastal city in the South of England. I am well, much better than I have been in a long time. I have time to travel, my own appartment, my girlfriend in London, good food (I cook), gluten free beers in all the pubs and I am 2 hours flight-time from my beautiful Italy. So why the writer's block?
The problem is that I am too well. I work, go to a 13 Pound/month gym, go to London on a regular base and take shorter trips around England. My last trip has been to Oxford, the world-famous university town hosting the world's number one university. With a population of 150.000 it is a pretty regular-sized European city with pretty regular English touches - although the incredible number of colleges, churches, libraries and other related buildings create an admittedly beautiful cityscape. Here lies the problem. What else to tell you about Oxford? I did not get any attempted handjobs by
Buddhist monks, was not stranded on any lonely island, did not catch typhoid, did not ride a motorbike through a rainy jungle. I took the bus to get there, had a gluten-free pulled pork burger with my girl and one of my best friends - a great time. Did anything out of the norm happen? Not really.
I could talk to you about the wonderful library of Oxford, the magic of European academic tradition in the air, the locations where Harry Potter was filmed - but this is not what I usually talk about and this is not what (most of you) probably want to hear. So how is this blog going to develop? Well, I am still willing to travel out of my comfort zone, this summer I am supposed to visit Brazil and find my long-lost family; so stay tuned for this. I will have some shorter trips to Slovenia, Malta, and hopefully some other European destinations. Whispers of Uganda are in the air.
But this is not all. What I need to do is to have a change of heart. I need to appreciate the usual, the beauty of what for me is ordinary. I
have to find experiences where they are not so much in your face but more subtle, like the faint ray of sun breaking the so typical British wall of clouds. I have to see through the eyes of my girl, where Europe opens all its wonders to a curious Asian mind. Maybe this is something that transcends the nature of a blog. Maybe finding beauty in the ordinary, challenge in the familiar and excitement in the usual is not the secret of a good travel blog - but the secret of happiness in life. My dear readers, I am back and I am well. Keep on moving and exploring this beautiful planet.
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