I bought this little guitar in St. Petersburg, Russia. At the beginning of my trip with the Transsiberian Railway. It was the summer of 2005, a completely different world compared to todays crisis. But even before the lockdown of the world, just a few weeks ago, it was very different back then.
It was still a time where we never heard about smartphones. The first iPhone wasn’t released untill 2007. There were mobile phones, but they were mainly used to phone or send text messages in which you could only use so many words.
There were phones with internet, but it was usually very slow and with very basic graphics.
If you were traveling the world and you wanted to keep in touch with your loved ones at home, you had to find an internet café. This was a place where you had several computers on which you could go on the internet for a small fee. Because there were so many computers, the speed was usually still very slow.
It was not something that you did on a daily basis, you would usually send an email every once in a while or you might check on an itenary for the next part of your travel.
I truly believe that traveling the world back then gave you a better sense of freedom. You didn’t cary the world and your family and friends around in a little device in your pocket.
For me it was a special trip, a rite of passage. The year before my mother passed away. It also happened to be my final year at college. After a very bad start, I worked very hard in the last few months to pass my exams. It wasn’t easy, I’m still gratefull for my classmates who pulled me through. If it wasn’t for them, I probaly wouldn’t have received my bachelor degree that year.
So traveling somewhere unknown for a few weeks was the perfect ritual to close of that year.
I like adventure and the unknown. With only two one way tickets. One from Amsterdam to Moscow and one from Bejing to Amsterdam and the required visas for Russia, Mongolia and China, I started my journey.
As you can imagine it was quite the adventure. I laughed and I cried, made new friends, experienced complete silence for the first time in a small village at the shores of lake Baikal, climbed the Great Wall of China and of course many other things.
So why am I writing this? I just restrung this guitar and I was wondering if there ever will be a time again that you can go on an adventure like that. In six months from now, will we have gone back to our bussiness as usual, or did we realize that those restrictions weren’t that bad after all. For several reasons, maybe the fear for a new pandemic, or because we finally realize that it’s better for the environment. Less polution, less mass consumption. Back to basics.
There are times that I’m thinking about living off the grid. Now we have the chance to do that on a global scale.
Would it be bad? Of course I would find it hard if I could never go back to Indonesia again, the country I was born. But what if with just a few of these sacrifices the quality of your life would improve and with that the quality of the world we’re living in?
At the moment I don’t know what to think. We simply don’t know what will happen. I do wonder where this whole adventure will lead us.
Is it the beginning of the end, or the start of something new…