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14 apr201914

The 2-year trip around the half-world

London, United KingdomLondon, United Kingdom
14th of April will undoubtedly always be a special date in my life. Even 50 years from now, if I ever live that long, I will look at that date in the calendar and remember a small step for mankind but giant leap for me. Every time I think about the process that drove me to finally make the decision of my life, I am puzzled and surprised. When I came back from Nepal in November 2016 nobody, not even me, could expect that three weeks later I would be adamant to leave the job, the country, and the life I had built. 

It as a very special moment. I had a job offer on the table from a bank but between having a formal chat and them coming back to me I made my decision. Now I can be grateful for their undecisiveness or beaurocracy, whatever that is. Imagine if I hadn't had time to think!

My aforementioned surprise quickly vanishes when I reminisce everything that happened in Nepal. Mostly all the wonderful people I met and how those people made me feel. Despite knowing that I was only in Nepal for two weeks and that such feeling can't be sustained indefinitely I thought there was nothing wrong in trying to pursue it. It turned out to be the right decision as I found much more along the way. More about people, the planet, environment, animals, and most importantly - myself.
Last look at bus station in Durham before my trip to London
Another interesting thing was how I was excited about my upcoming life change but at the same time scared as hell as to what might happen. Strangely enough they would cancel each other out with the excitement still winning. I will never forget that feeling of impatience that was with me every day. Looking forward to my last day at work, the last week in Durham visiting my friends, boarding the bus to London, and packing.

I am one of those people that take an enormous pleasure from packing. Weird right? Well, I can't imagine who wouldn't?! Packing is not only strategical and logical game of fitting things you want and need into the smallest area possible but also makes the fact of you going away real. It took me few weeks, months even, to pack up my life in the UK and send it in a van to Poland. Most of my clothes I gave away anyway and lately I did the same in Poland. 

Some might think that my trip has ended since I came back to the UK. Nothing could be further from the truth! I consider London my next stop, a little longer perhaps but still a stop. Everything I learned in the past two years has led me to live and think differently. Last year I wrote about the times of firsts but this year I want to share with you all the learnings I have been taking from my travelling.
 
We are not alone
Sounds obvious, right? Bear with me. 

I am now a firm believer that we as a species are predisposed to being lazy and self-centric. We live in silos created by administrations because even 100 years ago it wasn't possible to look beyond our own courtyard. Now, in the age of internet and fast planes, we have an ocean of knowledge about the world out there but somehow we rarely use it in a meaningful way. Our decisions, however small and local might seem, have in fact a lot of power. The laws of multiplication are often forgotten when we live our daily lives. But even a small decision made by 1 mln people like you has a tremendous effect globally. We always think if "I" do this and that but in reality it's I times "a lot".

Having met people from so many different countries, backgrounds, and with so many histories, especially local people, you can see how so called advancement can affect their lives in the long run. Whether it be pollution or even the embrace of a life that actually doesn't bring any value. The transference is real despite thousands of miles between different people. Whatever I do now, I always look at it from the outside and take a big picture into consideration.
The view from Alouette Mountain. Mountains are pretty awesome for gaining perspective
 
There is no plan(et) B
Every time a major shift in my thinking happens I take my stupid head and bang it against the wall questioning how could I think differently. That applies to religion, veganism, or consumerism. 

I think it hit me in Honduras. There, in the small village I lived in, water was sold in small (300ml) plastic bags. You buy them, rip off the corner, drink, and... throw it away wherever you are. I remember the football putch filled with those bags and my heart cried. Thankfully that village and Honduras in general are changing things as we speak (#nobolsasporfavor)  but it made me think very carefully about all the packaging I have been buying.

From that moment my way of life became filled with conscious deliberation of how my choices can affect the wider world. Postively or negatively. Every single plastic bag to which I could say no, every piece of clothing I wouldn't need, all those things usddenly became essential to me.  By 2025 there will have been more than 8 billion people in the world and the planet is not getting any bigger. Without us making decisions based on not what WE need at that time but what the world needs we can be in a lot of problems pretty soon. Actually we already are.

The planet is such a fragile place and I wish I had an opportunity to find out about it earlier in my life. But, as my dance teacher used to say, it is never too late to start and now I firmly embraced this kind of thinking.

Living in London is paralysing but at the same time I have more freedom to make the right choices. Being able to research brands before I buy something without worrying if something is 50p more expensive is convenient and I consider it a luxury but I still preserve my core values.
Untouched landscape near Kamloops, Canada
 
People are differently the same
Who doesn't like a good oxymoron? I know I do!

Leaving Poland to start a new life in England was challenging, especially at the beginning but it helped me start the transformation of my thinking from the very early moments. I am glad that my parents still raised me quite liberally, for which I will always be grateful to them. Yes we were raised catholic but at the age of 12-13 I developed mind on my own, therefore escaping the long-lasting effects of manipulation in that sphere. But there are so many other areas that I wasn't exposed to and conservatism in my country of birth still lignered after I moved countries. Whether it be sexual orientation, race, colour of the skin - all those things mean nothing to me but then it was still something I couldn't understand.

There is a lot of turnmoil in Poland as of late, mostly because media, government, and the church are afraid of change, progress, and the fact that people might actually start thining on their own rather than live just by what they say.
Find Dawid the Bombero!

While living in other places you realise people are just that - people. No adjectives necessary. We all have our characteristcs, sure, but you can't judge my right to live by the country I was born in or colour of my skin. Suddenly you understand that all those things don't matter, especially when it comes to kids. They don't see religions, or skin colours. To them the whole world is filled with rainbow colours and it pains me to see that we kill that outlook very early by not letting them make certain decisions when they're older.

Thankfully I stay away from it. I don't watch TV news, I stay clear from political or religious discussions unless somebody asks for my personal view, and guess what? My life feels much more free than before. Foreigners make up more than 65% of the company I work for but not even once I asked somebody where they're from. Okay, most of the time I can recognise the different accents and countries they're from but that question has no bearing whatsoever. I, on the other hand, have been asked many times, which is okay, but it showed me that the answer to that question became totally unncessary.
 
It's never too late
This is something I have been struggling with for a long time. Always reminding myself not to go back to the workaholism years between 2010-2016 where I would have no life and at the end wake up and ask myself questions why I haven't done anything apart from working my butt off. One of the crucial moments in this journey was when I started tap dancing. I have always wanted to dance. It's one of those things that I think if I had had a chance in the past I would have been great at. My teacher, Brenda Walker, instilled the mindset of "it's never too late" in me through careful reminders but also the fact that I was going through my exams like other people. Yes, during the exam I would be the only 2x-year old, surrounded by kids and teenagers but I battled through it.
My last visit to a dance studio

Just like 2 years ago wasn't too late to actually start living, it will never be too late to do it again, and again, and again until I can't walk, climb, run, or crawl :)

Right now I'm happily working away at Zava, getting small breaks in between busy months but I can't switch my brain off. It wants to think about what could happen in one year's time, maybe two, or maybe 5. Few weeks ago I had an amazing conversation with a soul very much like me and we agreed on one thing - you can be settled while moving around :) For most people settling in means buying a house, having kids, getting a job that can pay your mortgage for the next 30 years. For us it meant different kind of stability. Being stable in knowing yourself, pursuing the discovery of your character, different worlds, universes, paths. You can have kids, relationships, even a house, it doesn't mean you have to stay in it for 16h a day. 

Perhaps next 12 months won't be as exciting as the last 24 months but I will make the best of them. Focus is on now but dreaming about the future is what keeps me going! 
 
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