Sometimes it feels asthough we live in a world where we plan everything, everyone has pretty much every minute accounted for and we're all exhausted! Imagine throwing it all up in the air and making choices based on the moment that you find yourself in. Two of my Australian friends Holly and Cameron, have spent the last 7 months in 7 different countries immersing themselves in local communities and culture. They left behind any regiments of Western society in search of the rawest human experience.
Teaching Buddhist Monks and Burmese Refugees English (no, I'm not kidding) and saving hitchhikers from a days walk while loaded with fruit and veg, led them to an orphanage specialized for children with HIV. They loaded these enthusiastically vibrant children with film cameras and after teaching them the basics, set out to understand what the world looked like through their eyes. What they discovered was nothing short of magic!
Here's a couple of sneak peeks into the lives of two humanitarian free spirits...
What made you want to travel?
Cam: There's a community of free spirited people out there who have very little in common apart from the thirst for an organic cultural experience... Even though I had no idea what I was in for, I had that desire. These are the people who ignite my thirst for life.
Holly: I wanted to contribute and give back to humanity. The only way I felt that I could determine how to truly achieve that was to immerse myself in their culture. I needed to understand what it was like to live the life of these people in order to determine what I could do.
Advice for people who are wanting the same experience?
Holly: Go to a travel agency and write down all of the tours that are available in the areas that you'd like to see. Then definitely don't do any of those! Ask travelers and locals the places in their area where there are no westerners. Then go!
Cam: If someone had nothing more than $2000 saved, I'd say go and buy a one way ticket. Learn to listen to yourself, follow your instincts and let go of any compulsion to plan!
Cam: Just one? In general, the genuine joy for life that was on the most impoverished children's faces and the gratitude of locals for the smallest gestures.
Holly: Riding on the back of a Motorbike in a boarder village between Cambodia and Thailand and 30 children chasing after us screaming in English, "HELLO!"
How have these experiences changed you?
C: It has opened my heart and mind in ways I never knew possible. Realizing that everyone has an innate desire to get by. Everyone's trying to do their best to live, whether that's a 9-5, a 20 hour work day at the market or selling a cow. I have now learned to be grateful for every moment that I find myself in. Whether it's good or bad I accept it for what it is and just keep moving forward. Control is an illusion and acceptance is key.
H: While discovering what these peoples truths were, I also discovered the truths within myself. I remember taking the wrong bus and ending up somewhere in Northern Thailand by myself. I was frightened, scared and melancholy just to name a few! Because of the multitude of heightened emotions experienced in such a short amount of time, it was one of the most powerfully beautiful experiences I've had to date. Through all of these challenges I have found my bliss. Something I never could've anticipated.
One thing they both agreed upon was openness. Be open, stay open and life will be open to you...