How can someone still be a real explorer in the 21st century?
Nowadays we assume that every part of the world has already been mapped and discovered. That you can get information about any place easily via google maps and that there is no Terra Incognita to reveal for someone who calls himself explorer.
Gone are the days of hiking through unmapped jungles, discovering new lands and sailing over the edge of the world – right?
Maybe for map-writers the journey is almost over, but if you think about what YOU really know about the world and which places you can claim to have actually seen yourself, the picture changes.
How do you know that what people tell you about the world is actually true and that there is not more to know about a place, than what was already written down or filmed?
The world changes constantly and what somebody told you about a place yesterday can already be false tomorrow. And even if what you read about a place is true for the person who wrote it, you will never know if your own experience would have been the same. As we can have different opinions about persons, we also have different perceptions about any place in the world.
Everybody seems to be into New York and Kim Kardashian these days, but does that mean that you have to like them, too? If everybody goes to that place or everybody likes that person, it must be good, right? You would be weird if you liked a singer or went to a destination that nobody has ever heard of, right?
But how do you think people or places become famous in the first place? Somebody has to discover them. And then spread the word about them. And that person would be an explorer – or a music producer . Ok – enough with the celebrity metaphors.
What if you had a look around somewhere else, say India and you would discover a secret spot in the mountains that is so beautiful that it will become the next most famous holiday destination in the future. But before it becomes popular, it will be your personal secret. Your private paradise. Something that YOU have discovered. Wouldn’t that be much cooler than just following the crowd to Bali, where every place has already been posted more than a million times on instagram?
Wouldn’t it feel great to discover the unexpected and go to places, that are not crowded by other tourists? Where you can breathe in the silence and have the view all to yourself? Where you are totally overwhelmed by wonder because you had no idea what to expect, since there are no pictures of it on the internet?
Well, you won’t find this kind of place in a tourist-guide book!
You can read about the world as much as you want, but you will never know what is true for you unless you go and see for yourself. There is so much more out there than what is already popular right now!
Pictures vs. the Truth
States create pictures of foreign places in the media that fit in with the position they want to be seen in in world politics. That’s why you see so many starving people in Africa, bombings in the Middle East and terrorist attacks in Europe on TV. There are also rich people in Africa, pacifists in the Middle East and countless peaceful days in Europe. But it makes you feel better to see other countries problems rather than their success, no? So that is what they show you.
Like you shouldn’t judge a stranger by what others tell you about him before you meet him yourself, don’t judge the world by what is said about it by outdated literature and manipulative media.
Individuals who had a bad experience somewhere will warn you about that place or the people there, though your own experience might have been completely different. Of course, the advice of other people can be useful and should not be completely ignored – but don’t miss the chance to make up your own mind about something. Be able to tell people about places first hand from your own experience instead of just repeating what you heard on the news or read on a blog. Be an explorer!
I travel to see what is true for myself. I go and see and learn about the things I don’t know. We are born as empty vessels that are filled with knowledge by having experiences. Nobody else can experience things for you! You can learn a little bit through books or movies, but it will never be the same as seeing and doing it yourself.
You do not know how it feels to ride a camel by watching someone do it on TV. You cannot understand a culture just by hearing about it. You need to see, meet and do! Only this way you can learn and grow and find your own truth.
People can still be explorers today! There is still a whole world out there, which you have not seen yet. It keeps changing every minute so that everybody has the chance to make his own discoveries and explore places that no man or woman has ever seen like this before!
We live in a time where people think that everything of interest is already discovered and there is no more need for an explorer to go around the world and fill in white spots on the map. But how much do you really personally know about places like Tuvalu, Djibouti or Azerbaijan? Do you know what it feels like to live there? How the air tastes and how the people interact with each other? Even a well-known continent like Australia that is popular for tourism is actually full of unexplored regions, where no human being has set foot for a long time. So don’t think there is nothing left in the world to explore!
Even if you just walk through a famous city like New York, you might discover some secret corners, that none of the big travel bloggers or media companies have yet heard about. Explore the world for yourself, find places that you like, that are not included in any travel guides. Don’t follow the highest google ratings or the most photographed paths on social media. Nobody can tell you what you should like and which places are worth seeing. You should be the judge of that!
Go and find the unexpected, places that surprise you with their beauty. Adventures should not be carefully planned for you by a travel agency! Go and live the real life and don’t be afraid of doing things independently! Find your own story! Don’t be just another Kim Kardashian follower. Move away from the things everybody knows and find the things nobody knows yet.
The further you go, the bigger your world will become. So take your compass and your backpack and head to the margins of the world, explorer!