Some Downsides of almost constant Travelling

I just watched the movie “machine gun preacher” and besides it being an intense movie based on true events, it also raised another consideration again in me. The main character is helping kids in Sudan against the by-now-famous Kony and LRA, but  he is mainly also torn between his family back home and his “new family” in Sudan.

As several of you might know I have already been in several different countries around the globe for a longer time – the US (Texas), Togo and Brazil for a year each. Often people say that it must be quite awesome to get to travel that much. But there are also some rather longer-term downsides. I by no means want to leave the impression that they outweigh the benefits, but they seem to be not so visible to the non-travellers. I already explained the potential loss of a “home” to come back to in another post. It might also have the aspect that you have several homes and obviously you cannot be in all at once – with all the friends you made there.

Feeling at home in Brazil
Feeling at home in Brazil - I am the guy on the very right btw 🙂

But I am not talking about the direct impact, like getting Malaria or being stuck in bureaucratic processes – which make life rather more interesting!

Relationships

Just take relationships e.g., which either become long distance or take longer to build up in my experience – since they often evolve in environments where you are comfortable and can be yourself, which takes a while in new environments. And when you have finally found somebody – they tend to have the same passion as you and are thus probably abroad once you finally got some time back home. 😛 But obviously there are also some good side about it as this blog posts beautifully states – “date a girl that travels“. Of course you can also take somebody with you during the journey – but also that has pros and cons. 🙂

Then, depending on how much you travel, your best friends might be all over the world, in different time zones and difficult to visit again (although it becomes easier and cheaper to travel these days).

Personality and Understanding

Longing for different places, friends and being understood might be a bit harder sometimes
Longing for different places, friends and being understood might be a bit harder sometimes

You also change a bit every time you  leave, which is not a bad thing in itself, but it may become more problematic blending in again. I always need some internationality in my life now (which is easily served by further travelling and studying an international master), but it also becomes more difficult for people to understand you sometimes. Especially family.

 

Voodoo in Benin
Voodoofestival in Benin - Explaining Voodoo experiences in full intensity can be quite a challenge 🙂

My mother has also already been backpacking in India in the 70ies, hitch-hiking around France with sometimes just about 23 cents left in her pocket, being robbed in Paris under the bridge and asking via collect call for more money from home. She was also hosting international students at her house later, so I think so got the same bug I did, but still sometimes it becomes difficult to really grasp what I am telling her. Might also be due to parents and their kids having generation differences, but still …

Other Perspectives

For more impressions on this topic also read other interesting blog posts (not by me):

The Ups and Downs of a Nomadic Lifestyle and Are you a Good Traveler?

They provide some insights from a constant traveller / nomad. I personally still love more to have a place that I can call home and do not just “check up on” as some other people have the tendency to do after they have been abroad for too long – they simply cannot settle anywhere for a longer time anymore but “have to keep going”. It gives me the impression that the beforementioned blogger already has the tendency to do so. It took me several years abroad and also some good talks with e.g. children of diplomats (that have to change the country every 3-5 years) to see how much I want to be mobile and where I draw my limits. Right now I see that I want to at least have a fixed place called “home” that I can and do come back to at least every week on average. But obviously it also depends on whom I call my family – a wife and such – that I want to be closest to. If they are there it does not really matter all that much …

Sometimes your life might also change forever after your experiences – but then mostly for the better. 🙂 Check out this blogpost if you want to travel just for some time and then get back on track and really do your thing …

Did you have similar experiences? Did I miss something? Do you have questions? Let me know in the comments! Looking forward to hearing from you! 🙂

Sources: Pictures are all my own.

Preparing for a job that does not exist yet …

job_that_does_not_exist_yet
Winding road to your future

As you might have figured, this was a process that developed over time and I must admit that it also had to do with AIESEC – amongst others. Due to several steps (see headlines) this post is also a bit longer than the others – I hope you enjoy the time until getting there! I surely did living it! 🙂

 

If have to give it a start it would be during my time as member of the Continue reading Preparing for a job that does not exist yet …

What Egypt, Pakistan and Togo have in common and what Europeans are blessed with …

tahrir

[Update] Check out this text to get some more background information and videos: Updates on the Situation in Egypt: What is Happening

Also check out the current parties and their stands interactively.

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How will this end? After the initial promising change in Egypt and other Arab States now there are threats to safety and freedom of it’s people again. I was chained to the TV back then watching how the situation would evolve and was glad that it remained mainly peaceful!

Current State

After the initial struggle to overthrow the past regime (in which the army soldiers on the streets stayed mainly peaceful and did not act against the protesters) and a following quieter time to consoldate there now are struggles between the population and armed forces, Continue reading What Egypt, Pakistan and Togo have in common and what Europeans are blessed with …

Some get what they want – and some just don’t get it!

People taking to the streets in Togo
People taking to the streets in Togo
People taking to the streets in Togo

Now this is obviously a historic event with finally Mubarak stepping down. I am really relieved and congratulate the Egyptian people that their voice and prayers have been heard and hope that a peaceful and prosperous future following the idea and the spirit of the people comes into place.

But I remember very well a place where it does not! It reminds me of a story that I lived personally a few years ago in 2005 – Continue reading Some get what they want – and some just don’t get it!

Back

In Tamale I wanted to take the STC (Intercity bus) to Accra, but it left too late, so that I
had to take Trotros (mercedes – bus taxis, that only leave whenever they are full). In Tamale I
first had to wait for 4 1/2 hours before the Trotro left at all. In Kumase I then switched Trotros
at 4 am! Changed again in Accra at 9am for a Trotro to Ho, where my luggage was standing.
So I finally arrived in Ho after 20 hours of sitting in Trotros and 30 hours without sleep.
There I saw Horace (my boss) an left on Friday with 26 kilos of luggage.
They almost spent the entire time serving drinks and food – again I did not sleep at all.
In Berlin I went to “the carneval of cultures” and had african food again for dinner :).

By now I am back in Germany! Over here, two brothers and a Costa Rican who is coming back from
Prague on wednesday are awaiting me. On the weekend we are still receiving a mexican after
we have first celebrated my brothers birthday and then my return – party non-stop :).

Trip back

After the Ferry arrived in Yeji, Johannes and I were looking for a hotle with some other
“Yovos” (or “Obrunis”, how they are called over here) who we met on
the ferry. About 10 years ago they also had running tap water here, now everything has to
be brought with Trotros – but the beds were good!
The next morning we continued with a canoe of about 50 seats over the lake. On the other side
we went on to Tamale but with the most horrible bus ride of my life! At the end we just wanted
to let our anger out on somebody, but of course we didn’t!

Expatriation

Over night the Goetheinstitut in Lomé has been burned, probably by soldiers
or at least affiliates of the RPT. So now it is probably becoming dangerous also for Germans. We
had to evacute to Ghana (by ourselves) (what we figured out after a lasting discussion whether we should
go to Ghana or Benin due to ticketprices). The German Embassy was supposed to call their
colleagues in Ghana to organize some VISA for our where it would usually not be possible.

But they didn’t!

The first borderpost din’t have a telefone but could accompany us to the interior of the country
where they had a telefone, but not the permission to grant VISA! For that we had to go to Ho,
which were another 80 kilometres. But our drivers refused to take us there since it was getting late
and one of them had already lost his pastis to the customs after attempted smuggling!
The nice immigrations officer still tried to find some other vehicles by going throught the
different adjacent villages on his dirt bike, but he didn’t succeed. So we went to our accomodation,
the waterfall lodge, which was also led by Germans. The owner also came from Neumünster
and her grandmother lived in the same street as me! :).
The next morning we were preparing to go to Ho but after we had been looking for a bus
for one hour and loaded it for another two hours two officers from the immigrations department
arrived and told us, that about 850 new refugees had arrived just a little down the border
and so now every available man had been sent there and they did not have anyone left
for us and since we could not go by ourselves, we had to stay until tuesday, another 3 days,
since monday was the first of May! Until then we were illegal immigrants and could not leave
a radius of 15 miles!
During the during the american Ambassy was supposingly still taken apart.
Horace still went back to Kpalimé. We spent the evening in another accomodation
that the owner had organized. During the day we still had to stay at the Waterfall Lodge,
but at night we would sleep there.
Before I had still been to the village chief with the owner to announce us officially and
to ask for the next day if we could go to the neabry waterfalls for free, since they were the
highest in Ghana (about 300 metres high and you usually had to pay a fee) – what a touristic escape!
We were still supposed to present oursevles to the council of elders (20 – 30 ppl) and suprisingly I was voted
the spokesperson for the group :O. At the end there was the usualy alcohol that always goes
along on these procedures!
The waterfall was refreshing and relaxing. When we arrived, there were a lot of bats flying
over our head – it became even more when someone shot at them and also got one.
They are selling those on the market. The rest was rather calm.
While we were there apparantly 10 soldiers came looking for us but we were not there
at the time :).
In the evening we still received a delegation from the village with presents: a box of beverages,
one with coconuts, one with bananas and one with oranges! We had been told that both parties
usually bring palm whine and it is drunk together but in this case we were the only ones bringing
some and still had the honor of drinking it ourselves :). The human warmth and kindness
of therse people is just undescribable! They also saw the possibility to revieve their relationship
with the Germans through this, since they had been the first colonists and were still remebered
in a good sense.

Retreat

For some time now we have been staying in the orphanary of Campagne des Hommes,
which is about 6 kilometres away from the city, since demonstrations of the opposition might attract
the fire of the military. So far only the RPT demonstrated (“victory demonstrations”),
but at night and now also during the day soldiers moved to certain corners of the city
and started beating up people in their own homes!

In some adjacent villages on the route to Atakpamé the population has started
to stab soldiers at night at not stay calm anymore.
Some africans also fled over the border to Ghana.
The opposition has demanded the publication of the real election results, otherwise they will
start a commotion.
Bob Akitani has claimed over BBC that he himself is the president but has not been recognized
by the sorrounding countries.
The French,Germans and Libanese in Lomé are beeing kept under military surveillance
by now. Also in Lomé they had 10 – 20 dead each day.

first casualties in Kpalimé

One day after the elections the police is everywhere and is forcing pedestrians back into
their houses, since two soldiers have been killed during the night in a side street.
The Opposition tried to destroy a radio station at night, because a self-declared “neutral”
party leader had first welcomed Faure on his campaign and announced later on the radiostation
that every youngster not voting for the RPT is a fool.
The military has been waiting there and fired at the people. Most of the injuries were within the
leg region, but in the community hospital the doctors would not even have come if it had not
also been for some militaries.
In front of the prefecture some demonstrators started to throw bricks on the soldiers
Vor der Präfektur sind auch einige Demonstranten ausgerastet und haben Steine auf die
Soldaten geworfen, whereupon these fired back. Even this morning one could see burned
tires and rubble all over the street.
By now even the fixed lines do not work anymore. Only calls from foreign countries can be
received. Otherwise they say that the dialed number does not exist.

Elections

So there we have the elections themselves. It is clear that the opposition won,
in Kpalimé with about 80 percent. The officials in the prefecture first refused to sign
the final results but after some pressure from the side of the opposition they finally did it.
A lot of people are moving trough the street and try to prevent fraud but also to ease their
tension. All cellular networks have been shut down and will probably stay it for some time.