Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Life is what happens when you stop counting time

Reaffirming the value of time, spending it freely, and having more of it… More time to connect. More time to wind down. More time to cherish the people and the places that intrigue us…

For me and many of the people who surround me – and, I believe, for most people -, time is probably the most scarce of the resources we possess. And, yet, time is there for everyone and it doesn’t cost anything at all… So, what have we done wrong, what do we keep doing wrong, that led and keep leading us to this almost ridiculous paradox? I don’t really know… I mean, wouldn’t it be logical that we put all our efforts in making sure that we, and the ones who surround us, fully enjoy the time we have? I think so… Then again, we all have good excuses not to do it, and we give up and accept with resignation the ideas that time flies, that we didn’t have enough time, that we were busy with other things…

Saint Augustine said that “the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”. If there’s something I can’t complain about is the amount of pages I have been given to read throughout my life! I’ve travelled to almost 300 cities in more than 50 countries, and I keep doing it almost every week. Last week I was in the vibrant Madrid and in the small and discrete Recklinghausen; today I flew to the exceptional European metropolis and German capital of Berlin; and on Saturday I will go back to South-East Asia and, for the first time, to Korea.

I might have problems in fully enjoying my time, but I have been privileged enough to be able to fill my life with the wonderful stories and joys of travel. From shopping in the souks of Istanbul, to the exclusive experience of the Jamaican beaches, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to see some of the very best places and to do some of the most amazing things around the world.

Albert Einstein claimed that “joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift”. I tend to agree! I’ve been dedicating a lot of time to look and comprehend, not only the nature, but also the peoples, the cultures, the arts and the ideas. The problem with this exercise is that the more you look and comprehend, the more you want to look and comprehend. And whenever you think that you already know everything, you realise that you don’t know anything yet. The same happens to travelling: once you have the impression that you already know a certain place, you find out that there’s still much to discover about it; this applies to a certain and precise local exactly in the same way it applies to the whole world. Or, as the Monty Python’s Michael Palin puts it, “once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”.

Then, of course, there are many different ways of travelling: from the armchair traveller to the most sophisticated globetrotter, from the backpacker to the luxurious jetsetter. I don’t normally have the means to travel in what some people would call style. But, as Gore Vidal said, “style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn”. I’m not very good at not giving a damn, though… Therefore, when I’m extraordinarily lucky and stay at hotels like The Ritz-Carlton in Berlin, I realise the importance of fully enjoying my time!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got to your blog by accident,,,but I have to admit that it is such a nice reading that it is really difficult to concentrate on my work and prevent me from reading more and more.
Wish you all the best, enjoy the moment in Berlin :-) Pity you are not in Brussels today, you would definitely love the weather :-)

11:27 AM  
Blogger Diogo said...

Hey Cica! Thanks for you comment! I have to say that it made me blush... anyway, I'm glad that you like reading it and I hope I can keep your interest. Keep sharing your thoughts; I will keep enjoying Berlin :)

5:03 PM  

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