Indonesia and Australia: That's why I travel abroad is written by The paintings Teichert Christensen.
Why travel to Indonesia and Australia?
“Where are you going now?” It's a question I often get when I set out on new adventures – often outside Europe's borders. Adventure is something I long for when everyday life becomes a little too everyday, and the urge for new horizons and perspectives becomes too great. When that urge is satisfied, everyday life is nice again.
I came home from a trip in the spring Australia og Asia with my girlfriend, where the miss for everyday life and rye bread snacks on the last days of the trip was great. And god, how I enjoyed sitting on my sofa and eating a liver boy with remoulade the day after we landed in our home.
This is precisely one of the reasons why I go out. Everyday life and the little things at home take on a whole new meaning when they are seen in a different light than what you are used to.
The trip to Indonesia and Australia included, among other things, a motorcycle trip across Java with all the challenges that entails. And 13.000 kilometers by car along Australia's indescribably beautiful coastal landscape, where we also drove through several different time zones.
These are all lovely memories to look back on when everyday life gets a little gray here in little Denmark.
The urge for mix-your-own sweets and X-factor
Even if the experiences are lined up on such a journey, the longing for everyday life can still announce its arrival when you are on the other side of the world.
I clearly remember that a friend posted a picture on social media on a Friday night with sweets and fun in front of the television. At that moment, I got the same craving for mix-your-own sweets and X-factor on the couch, even though I was in such a beautiful and diverse country as Australia.
I immediately felt snobbish about exactly that lack. Because how could I allow myself to miss something that I can get every day when I'm back home, when I so rarely get to these completely indescribable latitudes? And how can I miss ordinary everyday life when I travel through indescribably beautiful countries like Indonesia and Australia?
Among other things, my journeys through life have taught me to be grateful, which is something that many people take for granted here at home. Unfortunately. Or perhaps last autumn's energy crisis has taught people to appreciate heat, electricity and water. Who knows?
A grateful people in Indonesia
On my many adventures, I have met amazing people who have shown me the importance of gratitude.
From this trip, there is a particularly special conversation with a Javanese that stands out clearly in my memory. Or conversation might be so much said since I couldn't speak Indonesian and he couldn't speak English.
Fortunately, gestures and sign language are something we all have in common. Incidentally, this is part of the list of why I travel - because even though we are 'far from the moon and close to the equator', we still somehow speak the same language.
We talked about life and its joys, and if there's one thing everyone can learn from Javanese people, it's joy of life and gratitude, despite the fact that they live quite exposed between two tectonic plates on an island with 20 active volcanoes.
They can't afford to travel or go to nice restaurants, which by the way was what the conversation was about: "How can you travel without working for six months?"
That's what he asked in amazement, after we had taken off our nice rain gear, and the bottoms got a little blood and life in them again - because phew, how hard it is to sit on the back of a small motorcycle through Java's hilly landscape in the rainy season and the wild everyday traffic.
The question stirred something inside. Because yes, think how lucky we are allowed to be. We haven't even had to save up for a year to be able to go on this trip. If he were to be able to afford to travel out of the country or perhaps just to another island in Indonesia, we might be talking about five years of savings. And then he could perhaps be away for a month and at least not half a year like us.
Despite this, we were greeted by huge smiles and a hospitality that you rarely feel in the same way in Denmark. It really gives food for thought to meet people like him and indeed all people from Java og Indonesia.
Although they are relatively often hit by natural disasters and have few financial resources, their spirits are high and helpfulness is something that is in their nature. And this is despite the fact that they don't always have the solution to their problems, but then they find one.
A privilege to be Danish
Perhaps it is already clear that I am struck by an ambivalent feeling about living in Denmark when I come home from such a trip to, for example, Indonesia and Australia. The feeling only gets stronger every time I'm out; because why is our society screwed up in such a way that it feels as if there is only one way to live life in Denmark?
Here's one more thing to add to the list of why I travel: To be inspired and reminded that life can be lived in a myriad of different ways.
Personally, I am divided, because as previously mentioned, I feel incredibly privileged to live in a country like Denmark, where we have a roof over our heads, food on the table and almost never go to bed hungry. This is in contrast to many other countries.
I can hardly bring myself to say these words. I am aware that it is a very generalizing thing to say, but we are very lucky in Denmark, and I want to highlight that even more at the same time that I experience the world, of course.
On the other hand, I'm not sure that I want to live in a country as performance-oriented as Denmark. There is a recipe that you should live by. If you don't follow the prescribed recipe, you deviate from the norm and become a great conversationalist. How can we be so far ahead in terms of technology, but so far behind when it comes to diversity?
However, I think that we are now good at throwing 'normal' social norms on the floor more than before, and I am sure that this is a trend that we will see in the next several years.
Big little world
The above considerations, as well as new thinking, inspiration, reflection time, personal development, curiosity and not least experiences, are reasons why I travel. And I will never stop doing it, because traveling gives me new joy and new perspectives on things at home. I feel that I grow and develop positively when I embark on journeys in the big – or actually not so big – world.
I feel like I'm evolving when I have life-affirming conversations with a stranger in Indonesia and drive through breathtaking scenery in Australia. If we can travel to the other side of the world in 24 hours, how big is the world?
Conversely, I have never felt further away than when we drove for three days through northern Australia from Darwin to Townsville; a trip of 3000 kilometers through 'the real Aussie outback'. Here you wave to oncoming traffic, because you only get passed about once every two hours. And the GPS is redundant, because there is only one way.
The means of transport was an experience in itself: 42 degrees in a car from 1991 with an air conditioner that does not work. Phew, it was hot!
I think the happiest day of the trip was the day we got the car aircon to work again - hallelujah that was hugged. And I have to promise that air conditioning took on a new meaning after that day; huge appreciation for such a simple thing as cold wind in a car.
I could go on listing things I learned and appreciated on the trip and took home. Here, seven months after returning from Indonesia and Australia, everyday life has announced its arrival again, and I still appreciate my rye bread food with liver pâté and mix-your-own sweets.
I have gained new experiences, tools and acquaintances in my backpack, which I will never be without. They have become part of my everyday life at home. Because as Shu-bi-dua so beautifully sings, so is Denmark indeed, a lovely country.