The only limits to travelling are the limits which we impose on ourselves.
People have jobs, mortgages and loans. Children and dependents and a life. Most people are more than happy with their lives but some feel a constant itch and a desire to see new places, and a few of those people throw up barriers to travel.
Yes, you need a certain amount of money to set off – but I have met people who have worked three jobs around the clock in order to get that money in the bank. I have met people who use their talents and skills to earn a living while on the road, whether it is by offering language lessons, making and selling artisan products or playing drums or guitars and busking in bars and in the streets
I know of families who are travelling with their children, and this, in my mind, is one of the best educations that you can give a child. I firmly believe that education is the key to raising a society out of poverty and ignorance and raising standards of health, but I do believe that too many of our children are forced to follow a curriculum which is irrelevant and contrived to keep them subdued and off the unemployment lists.
And you need good health. But I have met people who have been travelling whilst dealing with or recovering from some horrible illnesses, who have chronic conditions such as asthma, epilepsy or diabetes or who are in daily pain but they don’t allow that to stop them from getting out on the road.
I can’t remember who was already seated at the wooden table in the shady courtyard of the hostel in Cartagena, but I do remember that when I saw Mor I knew instantly that I would like her.
We began chatting and I wasn’t disappointed. Mor was funny, kind and interesting. She was from Israel and I was really interested to find out about life in the Kibbutz system in Israel and the (almost, but not quite) compulsory military service.
We went out and about together for drinks and a meal and we also met up on the beach at Playa Blanca where we spent the evening chatting on the soft white sand with the Caribbean Sea rippling just a few feet away from us.
Mor was travelling with Tina and the two of them were a pair of the smiliest people that I have met. They had been travelling in South America and had gone to some really cool, out of the way places. Nothing unusual in that but what was unusual is that Mor is in a wheelchair and Tina is her enabler. But no way has Mor allowed that to stop her from getting around. She has to consider the logistics of her travel a little bit more than other people do but when we were out together I noticed people falling over themselves to accommodate her.
I like to think that this is because people don’t see the chair – they simply see the woman with her big smile and big blue eyes and then they are more than happy to lift her chair or move furniture around. She was so excited because she was due to go home in a few weeks and she would have a new, adapted car waiting for her and she would be able to get around her town a lot easier too.
Martin is from Britain and has epilepsy. I met him in Mindo while he was travelling through Ecuador but he is currently settled in Cusco where he is teaching English. However a few times Martin has woken to find himself in a foreign hospital where he has to attempt to explain his situation, but luckily he has always been helped to a place of safety by strangers when he is in trouble and unable to help himself.
I also met Heather who is from the United States and who spoke no Spanish – she was also deaf and read peoples’ lips. How hard must that be when you are travelling and you come across people who have different accents and different languages. She didn’t speak terribly clearly herself and I had to concentrate to understand her speech – but she didn’t allow that to hamper her. She simply strode into any situation, turned on a massive smile and introduced herself. I last saw her heading out of the hostel at two in the morning with a group of girls on her way to the night clubs.
I asked Mor and Martin to tell me of any difficulties that they may have encountered and I asked them what drives them to travel.
Click here to find out what Mor has to say
and click here to find out how Martin is faring in Peru
So there you are. The views of just two travellers that I have met while out here in Latin America. And what I love is that they have both responded the same to the final question – JUST GO!
The next time that I wince as I struggle to pass my rucksack up onto the roof of a jeep or I battle to get my stuff in and out of a cab I will think of Mor. Stumbling over a broken or sandy pavement is nothing compared to dragging a wheelchair across a beach. When I get frustrated because I can’t understand or make myself understood I will think of Heather who faces problems with communication every single day. When I can’t find a pharmacy to sell me something that I need I will remember Martin and his necessity to always have a supply of his drugs available.
I have always advocated that the only limits to travel are the limits which we impose on ourselves and I hope that the above article will convince you of that too. And in the words of Mor and Martin – just get out there and go.