Through the stories of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, there are the recurring themes of good and bad, death and life. Underlying all of those, there is the theme of true courage. Gandalf offers both Bilbo and Frodo wisdom and they hear what he says, because they act on it. You can see this in the following video.
It happens exactly as Gandalf had foreseen. Frodo can’t destroy the ring, because its power has overtaken him, but Gollum, whose life was spared by both Bilbo and Frodo, destroys the ring because of his greed.
Frodo learns about true courage
Frodo shows that he has learned from Gandalf. At the end of the story in the book – this is not in the movie – Frodo offers Saruman a chance to change his ways, which he refuses. Saruman then stabs Frodo but fails to kill him. Again, Frodo offers Saruman mercy. In the end, Saruman is killed by his servant Wormtongue, who is slain by the other hobbits before Frodo can stop this.
I love how mercy is the evidence of true courage in the stories of Tolkien.
I love how mercy is the evidence of true courage in the stories of Tolkien. The stories do not polarize between good and evil like most movies. Both Galadriel, Gandalf and Frodo are vulnerable to the effects of the raw power of the ring. Despite all the hardship Frodo went through, or maybe because of it, he chooses mercy over revenge. The result is, that evil destroys itself. A beautiful story of true courage.
I started blogging about my journey, but after a while, I wasn’t motivated any longer. I started enjoying taking video selfies, though, when I was totally relaxed and enjoying the scenery. One day, I found a piano in a church and had fun improvising. The idea started to put some images and music together. Over the course of a few months, I added more pieces of video to the music and the result is a 13 minute video.
I cherish this video because the music and the images bring me right back into the feelings of those moments. I love to listen and watch it over and over again. I feel it gives a good impression of my trip. The cool thing about music and video is that those media are capable to transfer emotion better than written text. That has been the most important lesson of exploring working with video. I am excited to explore more of what this media can communicate.
I got into a few adventures because of minimal travel planning. It put me on the spot and I had to be creative and take some risks. During my trip, I wanted to visit certain people and places, but only a few while in all those seven months. Together with the dates of the flights, these ‘milestones’ provided the basic structure of my journey.
The essence of travel planning
When you plan, you create structure. Everyone prefers a different amount of structure in their life and while they are traveling. For me, too much structure takes the fun out of traveling. I’ve met people that had planned every day of their journey. They felt they had a limited amount of time and wanted to see many things, and that is exactly when planning would start to work against me.
For me, seeing all the touristy places is not where the fun is. I don’t want my own plans to rule my life. You would think that travel planning takes the stress out of traveling and a little bit of planning does. When you buy a bus or a van, then you know at least where you are going to sleep. However, some people added tension to their journey by planning. Several travelers admitted that it was tiring to be in a different place each night.
The cause of stress
I found out that stress is not caused by my circumstances. Yes, I could get a little stressed when I did not have a place to sleep or when the money ran out, but truly, the cause of the stress was my negative definition about the situation. I could just as much see it as an opportunity for miraculous events and a reason for true creative thinking! And when I did that, the anxiety turned into excitement. And the less predictable my journey would be, the more excited it would turn out to be and the more miraculous things would show up and work out.
For sure, I have a certain limit of uncertainty that I can handle. That was one of the reasons I relied heavily on my mobile internet connection in every country. At times, this would create stress because I would be focused on Google Maps too much – which bus stop to get out – but when I recognized that, I chose to trust more.
I can recommend anyone to experiment with dropping some securities to create some adventure. The easiest way to do that, is to plan only one tourist destination a day and one city for a few days. I would stay in a place as long as I felt like it, or when I had the sense of where I wanted to go next.
When things don’t go according to plan
On the last day In New Zealand, things went a bit different than planned. Hm, maybe I had clung to my expectations a little too much! I had to find myself again when some old feelings of disappointment came up. Transport did not work out, getting money for the bus was hard, I spilled coffee over my clothes, it was hot and humid and my heavy bags were, well, heavy.
Later that day, I was able to laugh at it, though. This is one of the nice thing about travel planning, when things don’t go according to the plan. Then will find out whether you truly can be flexible! So, it was a great opportunity to discover more about myself and that I could chose how I wanted to react to the situation.
I did not write any post after having been on the road for a few weeks. The novelty of the experiences wore off and my adventures started to feel ‘normal’. I guess, that is when you stop writing, when you don’t feel you have any novelty to share. Yet, my trip has been amazing the last few weeks.
From last-minute beds opening up in hostels, to meeting locals and staying with them, from connecting with the right people at the right time to doing a fun job at a horse farm, and getting a ride to the airport, all through New Zealand, it has all worked out miraculously. If you want tot read about it, I can send it to you in a private message or an e-mail.
I will explore traveling, being a tourist, planning or not planning in another post because there is much more to say about it. It comes back to an older theme: being a tourist or a traveler? A wrote about it in Dutch when I went to Budapest for a weekend, some years ago. I feel, I want to write about it again.
I have a feeling of relief and happiness after realizing that life will only go forward. I sit outside of Starbucks on Maui, Hawaii, drinking a free birthday coffee. Tomorrow, this body will have been on this planet for 37 years. A good moment to look back and be thankful.
Time looks relevant. Where I was born, it is 12 hours later and my birthday has already begun. So, how can time be different? Isn’t time the same for everyone? It is just our relative position to the sun that makes our experience of time different but we all experience the moment as NOW.
For a moment, I don’t need anything. If I can be happy in THIS circumstance and in this body the way it is NOW, then I can always be happy, and happier still because I feel it will only get better. That is an amazing and humbling feeling which brings relief. There was a time in my life that I felt totally stuck and even though that was around twenty years ago, I only have found great keys to freedom just recently.
I only have found great keys to freedom just recently.
My first great turnaround to happiness was eleven years ago. Before, my relative position to the sun felt quite like night time. Not that I was never happy, but after I got an invitation to say ‘yes’ to life and to God, I experienced a profound cracking of dawn. The day after that decision, I woke up and realized I was happy to exist, something I had never realized before. There have been several defining moments after that, such as meeting some great friends in the north of the Netherlands, who have shown me what it means to live from the heart, for which I am very grateful.
I woke up and realized I was happy to exist, something I had never realized before.
“You are doing some business, huh?” A guys that walks by comments when he sees me typing on my iPad. He asks me what business it is and I answer that it is personal. Personal business of major impact, haha.
I feel grateful for all of the years that I have been alive, even for the time before these awakening moments. Everything looks perfect from where I stand now, as all experiences have contributed to who I experience myself to be, now. I am grateful for the family that I grew up in, for the parents that I got – and to me it feels, even chose myself – for the darkness and for being stuck, because I start realizing that I am so much more than these.
Embracing the difficulties
The physical journey that I started in August has brought me in many places, to many challenges but also to beautiful people and great growth. I see now that if I am not able to enjoy that process, I will never be happy, because growth will never stop. I think this article is an ode to life, to God, to love. Even to hardships and to challenges because they seem to vanish quickly when I honor them.
If I am not able to enjoy that process, I will never be happy.
I feel more ready than ever to embrace whatever presents itself in me, as I see it is my own expectation being reflected back at me. The latest freedom I gained was from seeing subtle beliefs and opinions that limited me. Someone who’s been very helpful in ‘taking the cork out of the bottle’ is a young guy, Bentinho Massaro, who is actually from the Netherlands and started to seek his own freedom from the age of sixteen.
The main reason I wanted to travel again, was to meet him and his friends. He has learned to overcome many limitations and is inspiring his friends to do the same. One of his friends has been a great inspiration to me personally and I will release a short video interview with him soon. It feels good to share my enjoyment with others. More and more I see that we are all in this together, regardless of any race, background or religion.
There is great freedom to be found.
There is great freedom to be found. Today, I reflect on 37 years of successful living. Today, I celebrate life in all its flavors. I know I can receive all that comes with open arms. The bottle of the ripened wine of hardships has acquired great maturity and smells great. Some despise it and refuse to drink, although others choose to thoroughly enjoy it. Let he who is ready, drink. And let those who can’t stand such metaphors, freely vomit.