Tag Archives: Frank Turner

I Am Disappeared: on travel and such

And on the worst days
When it feels like life weighs ten thousand tons
I sleep with my passport
One eye on the back door
So I can always run
I can get up, shower, and in half an hour I’ll be gone

– I Am Disappeared, Frank Turner

It’s hard to explain how significant my backpack is. It’s not made for months of travelling, but it is made for escape. Escaping is one of the things most often on my mind these days. Don’t take that the wrong way, I don’t believe in the ‘final escape’, but just getting away. I’ve been more quiet and thoughtful and old fears have started to ebb away. I’m 30 years old now and fortunate with many things in my life. Still blood is thicker than water. All my anxiousness seems to point to the door lately.

Another road in another country
Another road in another country

“I feel like one of these days you’ll pack your suitcase and you’ll be gone…”, said my girlfriend to me the other day. What remained unsaid is that she’d be happy to see that, I’m sure that was what she thought. She continued saying that the happiest she’d seen me was when I was travelling, with my bag full of clothes and books. Just that and a road to travel, that is indeed something beautiful to experience. There’s that thing about a bag.

When Orhan Pamuk received a Nobel prize for literature, he did a Nobel Lecture titled ‘My Father’s Suitcase‘. The story is about self-discovery, writing and growth, but there is also this thing about the suitcase of his father, that somehow contained much more meaning than the whole library and all the other things. In that suitcase was the soul, the essence of his father.

There is an essence to life, a basis that is our true source of happiness I believe. It all fits in one suitcase, it’s all you need for your piece of mind. So my backpack would normally contain clothes, toilet gear and books and that is all I need. Take what you can carry and that’s enough. You can’t carry more than what your back can stand and your hands can hold. I think in a way that’s a good metaphor for life itself. Everyone tries to balance so many things in a limited amount of time, which makes them unhappy because there is so little fulfillment to it. It’s a rush from task to task, from hour to hour, which make you forget about the other important element in this story.

The road is a metaphor for life and intertwined with carrying what you can on it. It is a road to a destination and you should be able to enjoy the ride as much as reaching the end goal. In life we’re most often busy chasing many goals ,so we rarely take a moment to look around and enjoy the place we are at, because it never satisfies us. We need more, which is what society drives us to do. Statistics determine the way companties work, not the progress itself. The progress in turn serves the statistics, because tweeking that performance level will bring more invisible wealth to a faceless entity without a soul. People have lost sight of the road, the horizon is all that matters. Finding more possessions, tools and skills tot he point where you’re laden that heavily, that you can no longer move. It’s an utterly horrifying idea to me.

Ont he other side of the continent
Ont he other side of the continent

Humans used to be nomads, traversing from place to place, in order to live, eat, grow and prosper. There was a direct relation between life and travel, which I think touches our essence still. Then we became settlers and soon we became as humans divided in classes of wealth, birth and reverence. It takes away something and replaces it with hollow means. Maybe I’m looking into this too deeply, but I feel that the road and carrying only with you what you can carry brings back a bit of that elementary feeling, the pure essence of being instead of surrounding oneself with hollow, meaningless things.

So I keep my  backpack ready, because life can be rather meaningless when you get confronted with your insignificance on a daily basis. So I make sure I can always run, get to the busstop and go to the airport and get out. In the end, the only thing that matters is the road.


This post is dedicated to Ashley, who assists Chris Guillebeau in his work. Chris Guillebeau wrote the book ‘The Happiness of Pursuit’, a nice play on ‘In Pursuit of Happyness’. A book that talks about setting big goals for yourself and then finding the joy in chasing those. A book I recommend to anyone who wants to give some direction to their lives. Really, the book is inspirational, funny and full of wisdom that you can use. Funny enough, when I told some people about the stories in there, the response was exactly like the people in the book said: They thought they were crazy.

Source: lifehack.org

Well I didn’t think so. I believe that things like visiting all countries in the world, cooking a dish from every country or taking a university course in one year instead of four is amazing. It shows dedication, passion and the right amount of crazy. I decided to write a message to Chris Guillebeau. He seemed to me like an approachable person who would like to hear positive responses to his book. I wrote an e-mail, saying how I felt inspired in this phase of my life, where I am trying to get things sorted and find my own purpose in life. I also wrote that I didn’t expect a reply, so that it was ok. I just wanted to share.

Big surprise, assistant Ashley M. wrote back to me. Now, I know that this is a person who doesn’t know me or my stupid problems, but the reply was kind and warm. About me not expecting a reply, she wrote: “Your statement about not sending messages because you don’t believe you’ll hear back? I totally relate to that. I used to believe that, too. But you’d be surprised what you’ll get back if you send it anyways. What have you got to lose? ” She also suggested I could try to write something myself for their website. I did, I hope they’ll post it because I believe it was a good piece.

I wrote a thank you e-mail to Ashley. Explaining I was going down this path of self-development and growth, how it wasn’t easy but messages like this give me that glimmer of hope. I got back another friendly e-mail: “It sounds like you’re moving in the right direction and I have no doubt that good things are in your near future. Life is so full of possibilities! You never know what amazing thing is going to come your way tomorrow. Keep the faith, Guido!” All Ashley really did was doing her job, but also being friendly and encouraging. It’s such an amazingly small gesture. It can mean so much.

Now, why am I writing a blogpost about this? Well, because Ashley, who doesn’t know me, was kind enough to look at my message in a positive way. I couldn’t do that for a long time and still struggle to look at myself and others in a positive way. The fact that someone across the ocean took a moment to send this kindness my way, is well inspirational and cool. For some reason I feel a bit stronger now. Better things are coming my way, as long as I keep working and believing.

Thanks Ashley. Sometimes something so little can mean so much to someone. I’ll start trying to do this more often. Do little nice things for others, just because it should be done more.

I also learned that if you want, you can reach out and get in touch with those you admire. I got replies from Karl Spracklen (metal scientist dude) and from Frank Turner (my favorite punkrock bard) in the past. Just be determined (and follow the link)


Source: mactoons