Written by Peter Laugesen
Only after I left my home country Denmark some weeks ago I have discovered, well, actually I have rediscovered what it’s really about, this travelling life.
I often get the impression that even people who know me are confused about what I’m doing. About what I have been doing the last 6 years, where I’ve spent almost half of my time travelling and reporting from Europe together with my spouse and partner in Our Europe, Elena Maria.
This travelling life in Europe is not only about doing interviews and sharing them with who ever is out there on the internet to listen to them. And although it’s very meaningful it’s not only about doing lectures for the Danish youth generation about what is going on in Europe.
This traveling life is about connections, about personal and intellectual connections, through actual encounters. It’s about being there to be part of it, to get an understanding of it.
And for me, Europe is it.
I don’t have words to fully express why. I think sometimes we are just drawn in a way that is beyond rational comprehension. I’m drawn to Europe and I think my destiny is European.
Amongst other things I travel to understand the situation of migrants, bankers fucking over Greece, Brexit, Estonian neo-paganism, the feminist movement of Poland and the far right nationalists. It’s about living with and talking to people to force them away from my preconception of them and force myself away from my simple theories about them.
It’s about being there. Listening, observing, participating, following, resisting, asking. For me that’s the basis of reporting from a traveling life. To get connected personally and intellectually to get philosophically and intellectually moved.
But there’s also an existential dimension of this travelling life.
It’s about being free.
I believe we are all partially conditioned by our environment. My environment is often new, it’s changing from week to week, month to month. This week Warsaw, next week Kyiv. I’m so curious. I want to understand it all. I want to hear all the best stories. I move myself into foreign environments and I find myself awake, responding to different people and challenging situations.
To my understanding there’s too often a fatigue in known places, old relations. In the end you know your way around each other. It’s so comfortable I could cry.
I find it so exciting to meet new people. I’m telling you, I have learned a lot from meeting new people.
This travelling life is about not growing into someone I don’t want to be.
It’s about not being contaminated by the restrictions of a national culture, not being trapped in old relations in a middle class community. It’s about not being pushed around by the capitalist economy, and not accepting other people’s ideas about my identity.
This is written by a travelling mind.
After some weeks the road is playing tricks on me.
The travelling mind is more informed by the secrets of the road than by the imperatives of modern society. More in contact with visionary imagination than with the practical reason of everyday life.
A travelling mind knows that when others say NO they show you their limitations, not yours. NO we can’t change the world. NO we can’t just go to Ukraine. NO, dreams are for dreamers out of touch with reality.
What seemed impossible before the journey suddenly appears as an option.
I can get in touch with everyone. I can go anywhere. The future is open. Another world is possible.
This travelling life is about experiencing, noticing, reflecting and finally passing on stories about life in other places, life from other people, life under other conditions, about people in societies and societies filled with people.
This travelling life is about embracing the life that is just out there waiting to be connected with us. It’s about personal and intellectual connections and challenges.
This travelling life is about daring to be adventurous, daring to reach out for that passionate life of great joys and tragedy, challenges and positive changes, that life of gas station coffee, greek salad, pivo and wine, sunrise conversations, that life of sleeping naked in new beds and days of driving 700 kilometres to Kyiv or Rome, Marseille or Berlin.
This travelling life is about getting to know the secrets of the road, the explanations of the world and the stories of other people.
This was written by a travelling mind.
Peter Laugesen, Warszawa, Friday 30th November 2018.