Wilderness Traveler Bruce Parry is visiting an ethnic group in Siberia. It is the first TV program that catches my attention after a week hiking through Ireland. Parry asks the local shaman if he has a tip for him, when he’s leaving. ‘Get off of all information flows,’ he says.’ Stay in the here and now.’ I could have told him that as well. I ‘m not a shaman, but the trip through Donegal taught me this art of traveling. Or art of life, if you will. Readers who find this a load of shit, click forward. If you woul like to end up in the same flow, or if you ‘re simply curious, here’s the manual.
Find a country as empty as possible. An island is a plus. Travel alone. Travel light. Prepare as little as possible .Don’t book ahead. Neglect the trip advisor. Use the local manners. In Donegal this means: give every living soul that asks you how you are doing an answer and react by asking the same. Finish every request with ‘please.’ A heartwarming and welcoming world opens up for you.
Choose the slowest mean of transport. Leave your (e-)book or spotify at home or in your bag. Avoid places with wifi and a pushy TV, radio or music. Forget the news. Fuck the weather forecasts. Look at the liquid silver reflection of the light in the ocean ánd the mini cosmos that grows on a fencepost. Forget the time. Watch the waves come rolling in. Listen to the surf or the breathtaking silence in the Glens.
Sniff the characteristic smell of the host country: the salty sea air on the coast and the smell of burning peat in the interior. Do not drink coffee when you feel like it but when its available. Avoid major roads, choose the secondary roads or paths. Or skip these as well if possible. Live as economical as possible: think what you really need. Camp or stay at hostels. Share with other travelers, they’ll share with you. Share experiences. Solve all the world’s problems in one night with other guests (and some alcohol).
Make alliances with other travelers because you are soulmates, because you have the same purpose or just because they have a means of transport. But draw your own plan just as easily. Avoid half-baked compromises and agreements. Stick your thumb up if you do not want to walk. Make speed date conversations. Cut them off just as easy. Because you feel like it or just because you ‘ve reached your destination. Be open to any coincidences. Expect nothing.
There is no company that is more convenient than your own. If you’re not convinced: try it. It is the best way to get to know your company.