Unknown cultures

A
Reflection
story by
Luis Font

One of the things that struck me the most and made me reflect was interacting with the local community. I’ve never been to this continent before, and I didn’t know what kind of people I was going to meet.

In general, they are a fairly poor population, but very friendly and respectful to foreigners. One thing that surprised me is that the vast majority of them spoke Spanish and English, in addition to their native language.

But the shocking thing (and that’s something you can only understand when you live it) is that they don’t lack the urge to live or be happy. What’s more, they find happiness with very little and that’s worth admiring.

In fact, the local who gave us shelter in the middle of the world helped us without any profit. He didn’t
ask us for anything in return.

A good lesson for us, having many more material things, we do not manage on most occasions to be happier. This trip gave me a much more mindful way of thinking. Both in the physical challenge aspect and in interacting with the local community.

Talking to those people made me see that the most important thing is how happy you can be with so little. It’s okay to be ambitious, and it’s very difficult to find an optimal place between happiness and ambition.

But without a doubt, knowing how to live and be happy with what you have is the most important thing in that duality, and it is in turn the best lesson I can take from this experience.

And now it was time to go back to day to day to apply it.

Africa, a motorcycle and no fixed destination

My name is Luis Font and I am 31 years old. I have a degree in Fitness and Health Sciences, and I work as an administrator for a private company where I have been for 7 years. My life is very methodical, working and making a few get-aways a year when possible. Nothing beyond that.

I am a person who is very organized and a planner, who likes to have all his plans tied up. Just the opposite of what I would face in this adventure. My personal obligations had not allowed me until now to live experiences capable of increasing my inner potential. I lived immersed in the routine, and although I’ve always considered myself an adventurous person with “something else” inside, I hadn’t had much chance of bringing him to the surface.

We all have that something inside of us, of which we’re not fully aware of. All we need is to live situations that allow us to get in touch with it. This experience was going to become what I needed to do it.

A totally different adventure

At my work they gave me a week’s vacation that I had pending. In this case it didn’t coincide with my partner’s, so we couldn’t do anything together. It is with her that I usually travel regularly, so I saw that it was going to be a week of vacation without much to do. Until the idea came up of living an Over Rove experience, something totally different from what I was used to.

All my trips or getaways were scheduled beforehand. Hotels, cars and pre-booked excursions. Nothing was left to chance. The closest I had ever experienced to this was a trip I took in 2011 with a friend on the Rivera Maya, where we had several excursions in the area (although they were scheduled). Nothing like the adventure on the back of the Rover’s bike that was to come, where we only knew the start and end point of the journey.

The weeks before

The previous weeks were exciting. The moment I saw the possibility of experiencing this adventure I did not hesitate at any time. I consider myself a person who likes to have everything under control, but also very hungry for adventure. This was the perfect opportunity.

My desire for the day of departure to come grew at every moment. However, nerves, as on any journey into the unknown, could not be lacking. First of all, since I had not made any similar trip, and did not quite know what to bring or buy. Whenever I have traveled it has been with a suitcase, and this time, we would be “backpackers”, with no fixed location. But that uncertainty made everything even more exciting.

From day to day to the unknown

Adventure made me very excited. I was looking forward to disconnecting from work and living a unique experience. But there was another factor that caused me nervousness, especially in the days leading up to the start of this very different journey. I had never taken a flight alone before. It may be quite normal for many, but I had never felt that feeling. But I set course for uncharted lands.

Arrival was something new to me. This was the first time I had landed at a destination outside Spain alone on a plane. However, I was quite calm and attentive to the directions to get out to where the Rover was, which I greeted euphorically. It was at that moment that I truly felt the adventure begin, and I was looking forward to embarking on the experience.

I could only thank myself for deciding to go and live something so different from what I usually do in my normal life: an unknown fate awaited us. And I knew I was in good hands to do it. The Rover would make me feel much more comfortable and protected in a place totally unknown to me, becoming the guide I needed to jump into the unknown.

No fixed location

With nothing programmed. It sounds exciting, but for many not having a predetermined place to sleep during any of the 7 days that the adventure lasted is a scary thing. What was our challenge? A motorbike ride through an inhospitable territory in which day by day we were making our way. Every day, when we woke up, we thought about the route of that day, and at night we
ooked for a place to sleep. Excitement in its purest form!

At first everything went well. I was looking forward to this adventure, because I consider myself strong and able to face the next few days. Until one day I experienced a real challenge. We had been on the road for a couple of days now, when the road began to become much narrower, full of stones and dirt (obviously unpaved). The situation was quite uncomfortable. Spending about 8 hours on top of the bike like a package on secondary dirt roads and with many potholes requires strength.

But that wouldn’t be all.

Nightfall hit us in the middle of the tour. There was nothing around us but mountain and some little “village” (to call it something). It was all very dark and we didn’t speak the local language, so our options were complicated. But we took the only possible alternative: to approach one of those little towns.

At that moment I felt some fear in such situation: I was completely out of my comfort zone. Away from home, with a backpack as luggage and no option to return. But it’s in those moments that you have no other choice where you have to draw out all your inner strength.

We approached the nearest village to ask for shelter and spend the night. What kind of people would we meet? A good man welcomed us and we spent the night on his land, so everything unfolded with no problems. Many times, danger and limitations are in our minds. But until we take a step and prove if they really do exist, we won’t realize that they were nothing more than a defense mechanism without any solid foundation.

I’ve never lived anything like this in my life, and I’ll never forget it.

My thoughts

The many hours as a companion on the bike were a lot to take in. Enduring the cold on the mountain, thinking how long it will be until we stop to stretch our legs, seeing the wonderful landscape before us, feeling the African air on my body…

I wanted to take pictures to capture everything I saw with my eyes, but when I took the photo it was nothing like reality. I was living unique moments that would stay in my mind forever. I had my own internal war, but I finally got angry and managed to get over it. I knew it was a unique opportunity and I had to seize it despite the adversity.

In the end, this physical challenge cured me greatly. And I can say 100% that it was worth a lot, both for what we saw and lived, as well as how I improved my ability to deal with adverse situations.

Unknown cultures

One of the things that struck me the most and made me reflect was interacting with the local community. I’ve never been to this continent before, and I didn’t know what kind of people I was going to meet.

In general, they are a fairly poor population, but very friendly and respectful to foreigners. One thing that surprised me is that the vast majority of them spoke Spanish and English, in addition to their native language.

But the shocking thing (and that’s something you can only understand when you live it) is that they don’t lack the urge to live or be happy. What’s more, they find happiness with very little and that’s worth admiring.

In fact, the local who gave us shelter in the middle of the world helped us without any profit. He didn’t
ask us for anything in return.

A good lesson for us, having many more material things, we do not manage on most occasions to be happier. This trip gave me a much more mindful way of thinking. Both in the physical challenge aspect and in interacting with the local community.

Talking to those people made me see that the most important thing is how happy you can be with so little. It’s okay to be ambitious, and it’s very difficult to find an optimal place between happiness and ambition.

But without a doubt, knowing how to live and be happy with what you have is the most important thing in that duality, and it is in turn the best lesson I can take from this experience.

And now it was time to go back to day to day to apply it.

“Wanderer there is no path, you make your path as you explore”

If normally when you return to work after a vacation at home or in a small town you feel down or an extreme feeling of emptiness, imagine after this… My first words to the Rover at the end of the adventure was: when is the next one?

I was looking forward to doing it again. And this trip has taught me a lot. Travelling alone on a plane to another country in search of an adventure. Not having everything planned and organized, but despite this that everything can still go well and turn into a unique experience. I realized that it is good to leave your comfort zone, it forces you to live new and enriching things in search of adventure. And that with very little you can be happy. I learned to value everything one has, and to embrace new cultures outside your country and different lifestyles, which are totally valid and have a lot to teach.

I think we should have two lives; the first to work for a living and the second is to be able to travel and get to know all the corners and cultures of the world. Living and soaking up every possible experience. I feel like this trip has only been the beginning. I have decided to live more of this second life that is so unexplored by many. I want to have more free time for myself.

To be able to make more trips in the form of adventure as well as pure and raw tourism. I am set on repeating an experience like this without a doubt. Such an experience helps you overcome your fears or indecisiveness. It makes you value what you have more and to enjoy it at all times because we are fortunate only for being born where we were.

In short, it is a highly recommended experience and that anyone should partake in at least once in their lifetime.

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