You think, you have been there, seen this and that and you will never really experience something for the first time. No! Open your eyes, dare to stray off the path and show a little courage! When we travel we continuously make new experiences: Enjoying the magic of the Costa Smeralda, feeling the hot sun on our skin in Benin, dancing the night away at the fullmoon parties of Ko Phangan.
Premieres like these are essential. Because the reason we travel is not primarily to acquaint ourselves with new cultures, food or people but to gain new experiences. Alien ones. Scary ones. Experiences we never thought we would have. We travel in order to experience something for the first time. And this novelty is what informs the stories we later relate to friends and strangers. I am convinced that the more drastic the story is the better. Audiences love high drama. Picture postcard beaches are boring because everyone has seen one at least, but an experience with locals deep in the Congo Rain Forest not so much.
First-time experiences are special, even when you have an encounter with a poisonous snake in South East Asia or travel to the war torn countries of Africa or experience a possible bomb attack in the Near East. Yes, the world is not a safe place. And I was always drawn to those regions you normally cannot find in a travel catalogue. I went there.
Because of the adventures, of the first times. I am not afraid. Long time ago I left fear behind me. And later, very late, I learned about this feeling inside me: Gratitude. Because I always had luck during my travels, during my adventures.
In today’s world it is fear that prevents us from travelling. Years ago I decided I was tired of the life of a backpacker and ready for a bit more luxury. I had earned it, after all, and was certainly old enough to indulge. I don’t like anymore to use a padlock to keep my valuables safe. Recently, during my stay in a beautiful resort in Southern India, a member of the hotel staff came every evening in my hut with a pot of lovely smelling incense. And I was not bitten by mosquitos anymore. That really impressed me.
When I smell incense these days, I still remember my hut, the tropical environment and the magical atmosphere. It was perhaps my one thousandth first-time experience, but I will always remember it because I told you the story.