Rapid Travel: 13 Countries in 13 Days
So why am I doing this you may ask? Well you may already know that I am going to attempt to visit all 196 sovereign nations in 500 days. Now this is a big goal. But the only manner that this can be accomplished is if I try. So try I will. The truth is I am exhausted. I think I am only at number 6 out of the 13 in these 13 days so not even at the halfway mark yet. Here is the list with dates I expect to be doing it and have already done.
14/02/2017 – Berlin, Germany
15/02/2017 – Krakow, Poland
16/02/2017 – Prague, Czech
17/02/2017 – Vienna, Austria
18/02/2017 – Bratislava, Slovakia
19/02/2017 – Budapest, Hungary
20/02/2017 – Zagreb, Croatia
21/02/2017 – Ljubljana, Slovenia
22/02/2017 – Rome/Vatican City, Italy
23/02/2017 – Rome/Vatican City, Italy
24/02/2017 – Qatar/South Africa
25/02/2017 – Abu Dhabi, UAE
26/02/2017 – Brisbane, Australia
Now a few months ago I never would have imagined I would visit some of these cities or even these countries. But it is finally a reality and today I am in country number 15 out of a 196. Sometimes we get so cooped up in our little bubble/world we have created for ourselves we forget to look at how big the world is. We often don’t really pause and reflect upon history. We take our freedom for granted. I have been travelling through Europe. Right now I am in the center. I am walking in the footsteps of people who have lost their lives in World War 1 and 2. I am finally learning about the cold war and having an appreciation for living in a democratic country. My circle of friends and family have never known the struggle of fighting for your rights as a citizen and being entitled to freedom. When I look at the version of me a few months ago I was so naive. You often see quotes about how travel is an investment and that it only enriches you. This is ringing so true to me now. I have made an investment in education that no university could have taught me. Being a scholar through a book is so different than actually wandering the streets yourself from museum to memorial. Being present, feeling the sadness that location holds. Standing in a location where just a few years ago there were tanks and protesters for freedom from communism. I can make this statement because I am a university student. I know the difference from sitting in a classroom to actually being present.
This afternoon I walked to the memorial on the Danube River in Budapest. It is just shoes on the river site. It is to honor the Jews who were shot in 1945 on the river bank. Their bodies would have fallen into the river and the current carried them away. Imagine standing in the shoes of a Jew facing towards the river where someone shoots you from behind. That is all your life was worth. A symbol of a religion. Your life was so much more though. It is a reminder to us today to never repeat this awful history. You lost your life to remind future generations. You lost your life so in future we are able to practice our religion of our choice without judgement and persecution.
The next time an awful event happens where lives are lost do not blame the religion. Blame the person. We do not look back upon the Nazi’s as Christians. The pope recently made a statement which was very powerful about religion. “No people is criminal and no religion is terrorist”.
Each day we get to make a choice. Choose well, love and compassion. You never know what butterfly effect you will have upon someone else and their choices and circumstances for the future.