Thursday, June 16, 2011

About the journeys

This Louis Vuitton's ad is the most charming I have ever seen. Angelina is a beautiful woman and the video is so well done that it makes me a bit emotional. The video is melancholic yet full of life. It reminds me of my own journeys and how they have changed me, especially the first one.

The text that belongs to the final cut version goes like this:

"In 2000 Angelina Jolie made her first trip to Cambodia

It was a journey that would change her life forever

A single journey can change the course of a life".

In 2004 I made my first trip to Dominican Republic. It definitely was a journey that would change my life forever.

I was there only for four months, but that time changed me. Several things happened that opened my eyes. My tiny apartment was on the street behind the police station in Puerto Plata. There were black-outs because the government wanted to save money so they turned the electricity off almost every night for many hours. It was hot and no air-con. No tv, no fan, just candle light. There were the President election coming up, hence there were protests going on around the government buildings including the Police station. There were bonfires and even gunfires on my street. I spent a week on my friend's couch because it was safer there. I also had a spider size of my fist in my bedroom one night, but I was too exhausted to hunt it down and take out of my place. In the morning it was gone. There was an earthquake and a massive mudslide. I did not notice the earthquake, because I was sleeping too tight. I was luckily in another part of the country when the mudslide happened (it killed hundreds). I saw how people lived out of only 60 USD a month. They had few chickens and a shabby hut without a floor, yet they were happy and willing to invite friends over for dinner anytime. I met a 7 years old shoe-shining-boy, whose shoe shining box had been stolen and he couldn't work, but he was still smiling. Dominicans are warm-hearted and open-minded people, as most of the people in less developed countries.

Although I saw lot of things that you see only when you are living in a foreign country, to me the most life changing thing was when I realized that I can make my own happiness. I learned to appreciate health, money and the kindest of a stranger more than I could ever had if I had stayed in Finland. After realizing all this it took me five years to settle down: I went back to Dominican Republic (only to understand that prices go up, good places go bad and bad places go bankrupt. Nothing stays the same) , I studied in Australia, dived in Pacific ocean, had terrible flu in Central America (might had been a swine flu, who knows?). I saw people dying in Varanasi, India. I had a date in Venice. I traveled in Europe.

For those years I hardly spent any money to anything else than traveling. Yes, I bought lots of clothes too, but traveling was definitely the biggest investment and I am very happy that I got to experience all that. I have been lucky: I have seen the world. It is a privilege to be able to travel.

I am also glad that I got the travel bug out of my system finally. I still travel, hopefully always will, but not in that way: months and years living out of the backpack is tiring too.

After said all that I couldn't agree more when they say:

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end"

I could have never figured out that I want to be a journalist and photographer without my travels.

So a single journey can truly change the course of a life.

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