Tag Archives: travel

from ‘Into The Wild’

Doesn’t this inspire you to travel far and wide? My heart beats faster as I read these lines and imagination draws pictured of distant lands, where I haven’t stepped my foot (just) yet. We must embark on journeys, we must explore, we must get to know, because, I believe, experience of this life here on Earth is a gift, which we shouldn’t take for granted. If we have the capacity but choose to spend our lives in four familiar walls in the age when so many things became possible, it’s  a shame.

“Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”

– Jon Krauker

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Thoughts on the road to Marrakech

As I approach the red city of Marrakech, the landscape behind the window of the train I am on, is changing as well. Yellow sand and sparse palm trees are replaced by dark-brown soil, and in the distance the horizon is getting painted with rocky slopes of innumerable hills. Here there are almost no palms, and only bristly bushes are diluting this bleak, marsian-like landscape. In this terrain there are no trees that can throw a shadow, where a traveller could hide from a scorching sun.
In the comfort of an air-conditioned train (yes, such luxury is available in Morocco), it’s difficult to imagine the heat that burns out the green-fodder and vaporizes all water form the soil, making it unsuitable for the growth of fauna. Notwithstanding, eucalyptus offering oil and honey, and cactuses with nutritious fruits grow in abundance here in some places, allowing simple, low-tech production in this region. But still I was wondering, how deep do you have to dig to reach water and how scarce is it? Coming from the places abundant in water, it is easy to forget that big part of this world is facing really serious problem, i.e. shortage of water. How often do people here feel how their tongues swell from the heat, especially during the holy month of Ramadan?

In the periods of draught people have to reserve to such measure as simply praying to Allah to grant them some rain. Once, while I was working in El Jadida, the whole of Morocco prayed together with the king; strangely enough, coincidentally or not, but it did rain the next day. God Bless =)

Periodically, small villages or settlements emerge on the hills. They almost merge with surrounding environment, being built from stones and clay of the same colour. In the distance I start noticing high mountains, it means we are getting closer to Marrakech. I shift attention to my coupe. Morocco has always surprised me with how nice Moroccan travellers are to each other, complete strangers sharing a deep sense of communion. No ipads or iphones (unfortunately books either) distract people from each other, so they are happy to start a simple talk that doesn’t abide anyone to anything. Sharing some stories, some jokes, a couple of laughs and smiles – touching and simple Moroccan warmheartedness, helping to pass long hours of travel and uplifting one’s mood.

One guy helps to get my luggage down, I say a humble ‘shokran’ and in a few minutes I am standing under burning sun, breathing dry air, feeling as if I have just entered a mild Finnish sauna. I get my bags, and I am on the roll to find a sensible driver with whom I wouldn’t have to bargain too much. I smile widely inside of my heart as it is my final days in Morocco, another one of my stays in Kif-Kif hostel in the old medina, and not even heavy bags or the heat can ruin my happiness. ‘Cause this is how I choose to perceive and feel, as it is the perspective that makes our reality what it is. Also, knowing that this experience is to be continued... I choose to end it as positively as possible.

Floating World

When do you feel at peace the most?

For me it is when I travel by train or any other means of transport. When I look out of the window and I see the the landscape change so rapidly in front of my eyes, it takes my mind far away. I become as if just an observer, rather than a participant of this life, which during these moments seems as a dream;  and like all dreams, it is a temporary reality. Then the feeling that there is something greater, something beyond that permeates through everything is right there; it’s nature is permanent unlike everything what we see with our eyes. However,  as soon as you step on the firm ground again, you are back to life, back to reality, involved in all the turmoil of it and the weight of it is ready to collapse on your mind once again.

So I like to call this world a floating one. When I was in Japan, I have realised they used to call it ‘floating’ as well.

Ukiyo-e “pictures of the floating world”.

No other nation in the world has managed to depict the impermanence and ephemeral nature of the world around us as well as the Japanese.

Although this style flourished in Japan in the 17th century and was focused on portraying the hedonistic lifestyle attributed to the Japanese during the Edo period, the term ukiyo is a homophone for a Buddhist term “Sorrowful World“. Nevertheless, I believe that there is no contradiction in that at all. The reason why Buddhists refer to this world as a sorrowful one lies in the karmic cycle of death and rebirth, which we are trying to break lifetime after lifetime. People suffer in this life without the spiritual guidance and when one’s life is not filled with purpose, it seems that the world just floats by meaninglessly. The same way pleasures and beautiful things come in our lives, the same way they go or deteriorate with the passage of time.  But that’s just natural and we have to learn to accept this. However sad it might be, that is not the real sorrow of human life. The real sorrow is in human spirit seeking liberation and fulfilment and not being able to find it.


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