The most asked question so far is: ‘’Did the trip bring you what you expected?’’ This is an interesting question to answer since it forces me to think about my expectations. When I set out, I came up with four reasons.
The first one was love (or the lack of it). I had no lack of love, I just couldn’t share it anymore with the person I felt this love for. I needed to cope with this. The first two to three weeks were especially hard in this. I did call my ex-girlfriend a couple of times. This felt both good and really horrible. I hoped she would change her mind, hoped she would tell me she was sorry and ready to start over again. This did not happen and I learned to cope with this. Meeting her again in Istanbul proved me I was (to some extend) successful in this. Along the way I have found different love though. I found love in the people whom I met. I found love in the way the sun rose to greet me every morning. I found love in the way I found my way through fields and forests. I found love in the solitariness of the journey. I found love in myself, maybe even for myself.
The second reason to go was adventure. Did I find adventure? Yes I did. Every day I was challenged in some way. Every day I had to push myself to go on. Of course some days were easy. Sometimes everything went so smooth I almost forgot what I was doing. But most days there was a moment when I fully well realized I was on my own, making my way through the heart of Europe, towards the edge of the continent. Rain and sun, sound and silence, love and hate, pain and pleasure, they all challenged me in some way. I had adventure like I never had.
Third reason: regret. There’s not much to say, I will never regret this.
Fourth, finding religion. This one didn’t work out as intended. But still, I studied religious studies, my way towards the world made me always go in churches, visit monasteries and talk to both priests and imams. I would not write a book about my findings in this. But for me personally, I am satisfied with what I found.
But the trip also brought me things I would not have expected. Making this trip, I have realized I do mean something for others. For me this is a most valuable realization. People do care about what I do and how I feel. I have inspired and touched people and this is a great gift. I would never have expected this. It build my self confidence and made me realize what I am capable of. Maybe I was too modest for myself, but I would never feel anything more than others. This is also something I realized. People called me many things on my way, they lifted me above what I felt I was. They saw things in me I would never ever agree on. It build confidence, but more, it let me think about who I am and who I want to be.
I still have to learn to deal with expectations though. Now that I am home, I do feel the pull of expectations of people all around me. Some expect me to be with them, others expect me to write a book, others again expect me to find work and some expect me to be changed in many ways. I’ve never liked to disappoint people and am not very good in this. But staying close to who I am, and keep on walking my own way is my first priority now.
Leaves just one question: Did my trip bring you what you expected?