“They made me feel at home, and I always felt like I was able to give my love to them in return. Love is not something that you keep to yourself. It is something that you share with others.”
Ten months of travelling through South America: five countries, one language and so many different cultures. This continent is remarkable! It has so much to offer. It is so rich with nature, and a pure form of living. I’m going to miss a lot of it—especially the delicious juicy fruits, the little food stalls on every corner, and the charming Plazas de Armas where people come together to talk, share a hug or play chess. The spaces are filled with couples who express their love for each other so openly. I will miss the vast distances going from one place to another, which give the sensation of being in a whole new world, yet you remain in the same country. I will miss the feeling of not having to rush—“tranquilo” everybody always says. And I will miss even the street dogs. A lot of times, they joined me for a little walk, gave me hugs when I needed one, or protected me.
It all started with the need to feel free like a bird. To leave the comfortable nest which didn’t suit me anymore, and spread my wings to discover what’s out there. I said goodbye to my work, got rid of my apartment, and hugged my friends and family one more time before I took off.
For me, my journey always had the underlying purpose of seeking and understanding unconditional love. Before I spread my wings and flew away, I thought that you could only find unconditional love when you meet your soulmate, the one who “completes” you. I knew that unconditional love is something you feel towards or receive from your family, the love of your father, mother, brother/sister or the love you feel for your friends. But I was afraid that I would never experience it outside of that circle. What I have discovered during my journey though, is that unconditional love is in everything. It is in nature, cultures, homemade food, the people you meet, the conversations you have. And the most important part of unconditional love lies within you. Love is the essence of our existence. It is what unites people; it’s the core of everything.
The power of positivity
I’ve had the privilege to discover all of this and find the meaning of unconditional love because I believe in the power of positivity. A lot of people I’ve met and spent time with told me that they were surprised at how I always seem to see things in a positive light—even the bad things. I try to turn experiences/situations/feelings around in seeing the opportunity in them. I don’t see fear as fear, for example. I see it as an opportunity to learn something new, to get out of my comfort zone. This difference in perspective is what drives me. By being positive, by sharing your love with who and what is around you, you will attract it back to you and sometimes even in a far stronger force than you can ever imagine. The only thing you have to do is open your arms, embrace what comes to you and see the love inside of it.
This whole journey has made me more conscious of who I am, what I like, what I need, and with whom I’d like to be in contact. It made me so much stronger as a free woman in this beautiful world.
The most interesting part of it all for me was the people I met along the way—the local people who are so proud of their country and wanted to share it with me. Their history, their way of living, their culture. But most of all, these people wanted to share their love with me. They opened their doors to be part of their family for a while and experience their lifestyle. They made me feel at home, and I always felt like I was able to give my love to them in return. Love is not something that you keep to yourself. It is something that you share with others.
These experiences made me realise that I don’t have one home. The country I come from isn’t my home. My home is where I am, where my heart is. It’s a safe place where I can share my love with others.
What I’ve learned during my journey
I’ve learned so much more about the cosmos, the planet earth we are living on, the surrounding galaxies, the thousands and thousands of stars we can see at night, the power of the sun, the influence of weather, and all the other incredible things that I was able to experience in their purest form. All of it is absolutely remarkable!
I’ve learned how it feels just to be happy with the basics of life—not having it all, but instead being satisfied with a bed to sleep in, a roof over my head and food to strengthen my body. Even electricity sometimes became a luxury! It wasn’t always easy; there were moments when I felt lost, and when I asked myself “what am I doing?”. In moments like these, I usually found myself lying in bed all day, crying and eating chocolate. Luckily, these moments never lasted much longer than a week as I started to recognise what happened inside of me.
I’ve always been somebody who believes that things happen for a reason, and I still think that. All of my experiences were connected—they helped me to build more and more of what I was looking for. I wouldn’t be here now if I hadn’t made the choices I made during my journey. And yes, I also believe that the bad things in this world happen for a reason, things like war, poverty, illness, global warming, etc.
It’s difficult to admit, but those things exist due to our actions. It’s because of our history that things like these are happening. How I see it is that it’s all a use of power and control. Martin Luther King once said that love is the ultimate answer to mankind’s problems. I totally believe in that. I have experienced it myself. As soon as you let love flow through your veins, there are no problems. We, ourselves, create them.
Another great quote from this inspiring man says it all for me: “Power without love is reckless and abusive. Love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”
Where to from here?
What will I do with all the knowledge I’ve gained in these ten months of travelling through an incredible continent? I don’t know yet. But what I do know is that I want to be part of something that benefits people in finding their core of love as well. I’ve met people who live from it, who do everything they do with the essence of love. Most of these people were part of a Hare Krishna community, practising Yoga every day, meditation, mantras. I felt the strength of it when I was near them, and when I left, I sometimes felt like I needed that strength back again. However, to change my life and live like that—being part of their community—is not what’s right for me. I want to create my own community. How? I don’t know yet. But what I do know is that when you serve others, when you help them, you automatically benefit the world. You make it an even better place for the next generations. That’s my ultimate goal in life. Isn’t that what we are here for after all?
So, this is me sharing my experiences with you, my vision, my beliefs. Stepping out of the system has been the best decision I have ever made in my life! I can recommend it to everyone. My way of doing it was to go travelling, but there are so many more things you can do to set yourself free. My advice to you is to believe in yourself and believe in the power of love and the universe—that what you attract comes to you. That what you focus on becomes bigger. So be mindful about that, in the choices you make and the thoughts you have.
Author - Nadine Schol
Nadine is a Travelher who doesn't mind showing her true self. You can read more from her at Journeyofnadine.wordpress.com.
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