When I was younger, I used to travel a lot. It was my dream to visit every corner of the Earth and over a couple of decades, I achieved my dream. It was a long journey but a worthwhile one. You have to understand, no one can visit every corner of the Earth… it’s just an expression. I can say, though, that I’ve been to every country there is and visited all the important places. It’s more than a human can wish for.
Don’t get me wrong, I‘ve never compared myself to others, at least not when it comes to traveling. I do sometimes make comparisons because it’s in human nature more than anything. When it comes to travel – no. It has always been a personal thing, a kind of personal growth if you will. It’s fascinating meeting other cultures or at least the vestiges of them because it has been one giant culture for a very long time. We all kind of live the same, think the same yet there are traces… Traces of our previous cultures that I’ve always wanted to explore.
I’m a lucky one. I got to do what I always wanted. No stone was left unturned, no country unexplored.
People often ask me what I got from my travels. I try to explain that I got to know the truth… to know what people are really like. They are all the same… everywhere on the globe. You see, they ask me if people live differently in other countries – if they are different. I tell them, they are not. Sure, there are some differences but then again, you have differences between two cities in the same country. It’s hard to believe, they say… People over there must be different from us.
Our ancestors thought the same. It wasn’t long ago that we wanted to exterminate each other over our differences. We don’t do it like that anymore… but we still hate each other – with a smile on the face.
People think we’ve changed, that we are essentially different from our ancestors, that because we don’t go to war we are somehow different. Better. Superior. We are happier now, that’s true. We have fewer worries. Hunger is not an issue as it was before. People still die from it, but those are more isolated cases than the real, global issue. I remember that when I was a child my parents used to tell me stories of when they were young. It was all war and poverty and hunger. And great things, too. My parents never experienced bad things but they were aware they existed. Today, people believe we are living in a paradise and for most parts, it’s true. If you have limited desires you won’t want much and you’ll be happier. Our ancestors wanted more and that was the reason for their unhappiness. Then again, they achieved more. Today, we are happy but placid. We haven’t achieved great things since who knows when. Even now that I’m writing this I’m trying to mimic older writers, now all of them dead because we haven’t had a decent writer in decades.
Peace comes with the price and while I’m not complaining, I sometimes wonder at the great adventures our ancestors had. We don’t have it anymore. That’s why I’m a rare bird… A dodo if you wish, though there are so many extinct species that I could be called any other name. A pigeon, for example. I think I remember seeing a pigeon once, one of the last ones when I was about 4 or so. After that, I’ve heard stories but haven’t seen one because they are now extinct.
We don’t try to bring them back to life. First, because we can’t, and second, because we don’t want to. We made them extinct in the first place for the sake of the greater good. We have left all those species beneficial for the peace on Earth. There are plenty of them, don’t think we don’t have any left. It’s just that they are now serving their beneficial purpose. I’m not complaining. No one is. You can’t complain about something you’ve only seen on pictures. I wonder what our ancestors would say… I wonder what they would think about their future descendants, if they would change anything… That’s why I’m writing this… In the hypothetical case that someone reads it, though I don’t have any hope anyone will. I’m writing this for myself. And maybe someone who comes after me who will see this as a distant past. Who knows what they will think!
Anyways, let me continue with my story…
We have come a long way with technology. When I said that we haven’t created anything in the last decades, I wasn’t completely honest. We have created many things, many great things, like the cure for cancer and AIDS, we can now grow body organs for transplantation purposes, so generally our life expectancy is much longer now than it was ever before. We still can’t live for 150 years, but we have extended our average lifespan to 95. It’s not so bad.
Me, for example… I’m 65 years old and, compared to my parents and their parents, I would be 45. I still have a lot of things to live out. I’m not old, I’m middle-aged. It’s normal for women now to have children in their 40. It was possible then, too, but it wasn’t that common.
I’m not complaining, don’t get me wrong. I like the way we live now. It’s much better than the way my parents used to live, or their parents. It’s peaceful and good and prosperous. It’s just… I’ve always felt that there was something missing. Probably I’ve traveled so much because of it. To find something. To find the meaning of life. Or just the meaning of my life. The purpose. Something. I’m not sure if I’ve found it… I’m still searching for it, but I did find something else. Something so strange that you wouldn’t believe me even if I showed it to you. No one wants to believe in what contradicts their view of the world. And no one believed me… For a long time, I hadn’t believed myself either. Until I went to search for it. The continent beyond.