Have you ever thought that traveling and experiencing beauty is a hobby, if not even a “privilege” of people who can see? I have to admit that this was at least my personal, unconscious assumption. And what I didn’t reflect about either was the question what “seeing” really means. What it can all signify, was the great and incredibly inspiring lesson I learned from Marco, a sporty Austrian therapist, who counts running and traveling among his numerous passions and hobbies. What makes his traveling experiences so special and instructive is the way he sees his traveling destinations. Here is our interview with this exceptional and joyful man whose way of seeing things (differently), might have a huge impact on yours too.
HTD: You love to travel and some of your favorite destinations are European cities. But one detail has very much arrested our attention: You are literally traveling as a “blind passenger” to all your places of interest. What is what you are enjoying most about traveling?
What I love most about it are the different atmospheres and rhythms of places. But of course, I do experience them also through the other four senses – and the “sixth sense”, what I would describe as a combination of the inner picture of a situation and my intuition. That’s how I see cities!
HTD: Traveling often means to leave the own comfort zone and to encounter the Unknown. Don’t you perceive it sometimes even “threatening” to be in a country where you don’t speak for instance the people’s language?
Generally speaking, both is appealing to me: to travel alone or with others. For me personally, every complication has got a different “brand” and that’s the challenge. Not to be able to read street signs and markings and not to speak the language is for me a challenge or chance to get in touch with other people. It’s an opportunity to learn more than what is “reachable on the surface”! What I also find enthralling is to know that there are things that I do not perceive. But I don’t feel like missing out on them, because there is already so much that I do experience. And if I do “miss something”, then they will turn up as surprises to me. I always travel with a lot of openness for them and for what will be shown to me. And of course, I can use help such as guided tours, where things are explained, or I simply read scanned guides with the assistance of some voice output. Google for instance is a big help, such as navigation and descriptions in the Internet, especially if you are traveling alone. It’s simply wonderful to be in front of the Eiffel Tower and to listen to detailed information about it: to be on-site and to have all the details – this makes the experience perfect! You know, the thing is: If you believe you have got too little of something, it will always be too little. If you believe that you have enough, you will always be satisfied. For me not to see – the way society understands “seeing” – is a privilege, the same way as it is for others to be able to “see”.
HTD: You are such an active and positive person. Where does all your energy come from?
I think it is rooted in following mind-set: We all have “playing cards” in life. The beauty of playing unfolds, when we play with what we have. And at a certain point I started to play with my cards. Also my faith is a motivation to me, because it gives me trust, not hope: Trust, that everything is good the way it is. And if it is difficult sometimes. But this attitude of deep trust makes me ask myself which kind of opportunity this difficulty is offering me. As regards all the beautiful things in my life, I am thankful for them. The other situations, on the other hand, teach me trust and they also lead me back to thankfulness.
HTD: Traveling and the discovery of beauty often go hand in hand. What does beauty mean to you?
For me traveling is always something perfect. Firstly, because I don’t stress about “missing out on something” and simply return to the place, if there is something that I didn’t see. And then the beauty of traveling also lies in the discovery of connections and relations: Every time one is traveling, he understand new links. That’s why we travel: To discover and understand how everything is related. But many other times, we also encounter unbeautiful things and contrasts, such as some fascinating fleurets in Moscow and poor men, who need to sell bred to survive at the very same time. When I travel, I want to see all of that, good and bad, as it’s always those both sides that broaden our horizon.
HTD: Marco, thank you so much for this talk about how to enjoy and “see things differently”, definitely not only when we travel! (ger)
Photo credits: Marco, unknown, ger (picture of Rome, a place Marco loves to travel to)