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A plane over the peaks of the Himalays, Nepal

I have only one rule, and that is to travel around the world without a plane. I want to feel how cultures intertwine. I want to see how Christian cultures merge into Orthodox, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and then Muslim or Christian cultures. I want to "perceive whatever holds // The world together in its inmost folds". That's how I put it at the beginning. (Goethe did, but who is splitting hairs.) That was two years ago. Once before I got on a plane to get ahead. At that time I reached my limits. It was up to me to decide, forwards or backwards. Other people who travel like me (without a plane), and fail at the very same point (crossing Pakistan) continue via Turkmenistan. At this point, it would have been possible to proceed without a plane. In principle. In my specific case, it wasn't possible. I bitterly regretted this flight at the beginning. Today, I am glad that I didn't travel through Pakistan. Not because it's impossible for me or because I'm afraid, but because I've learned that it's wiser to visit some Muslim countries accompanied by a man. One day, I will do that.

Initially, I wanted to travel on a sailboat or a container ship from South East Asia to Australia. In my opinion, that would have been perfect. The cost of a private cruise is hard to calculate, but depending on the length of the trip, it can cost up to 1.500€ (sometimes free, the range is enormous, but those who have no money need to bring time). The crossing with the container ship costs 2,000€. Once again, I face a dilemma. Coming to Australia without a plane is possible, in principle. Just not for me. Because I have already organised a living situation and my hosts are expecting me in Sydney at the beginning of August. (That's on the other side of the continent, right?) Besides, I'm absolutely - red numbers - broke. So I am faced with the decision to invest 2,000€ in compliance with the rules or 200€ breaking them to make money again. Since I have not spent my own money for several months now, the decision is not mine. For anyone who looks at my situation from the outside, the desire to pay 2,000€ on that trip MUST seem a bit much. For me, it's not, but my arguments aren't sticking. No one understands my obsession with my rules.

Rules are there to be broken, even if there is only one rule. So I book the flight and mourn the loss of my perfect crossing for three days. Although initially, a world collapses, I soon come to terms with the decision. I find reasons to justify them and make concrete plans in Sydney. With the choice to take the plane, everything becomes very simple. I can now plan the most intricate details. I will fly from Malaysia to Sydney. I will not see Indonesia. No Bali. No island paradise. To my surprise that doesn't bother me much. The transition from Indonesia to Australia doesn't exist. Australia is a water-protected nation trying to seal itself off from its weaker neighbours. Whatever may have connected the indigenous people, today no longer exists.

One decision follows the next, and I have a goal that is far greater than just Australia. I want to go around the entire planet. It's longer and more exhausting than this little jump over the sea. I'm almost glad that I finally move on. South-East Asia is getting on my nerves. I have not enjoyed travelling for months. And that's mainly because I find it difficult to break away from the main tourist trails. Without money, travelling is only possible on a narrow track. (People are doing it without any money, but I don't feel comfortable doing what that requires.) If I were not on my own, the problem would be solved, because then I could rent a car and sleep in private rooms. I wouldn't wake up exhausted in a windowless dorm in the morning. I would stay longer in remote places, discover the country on my own, and move at my own pace without investing much more. That's the flip side of solo travel. And because I would like to change that without giving up my independence, I have to fill up my travel fund. Once I have money, the decision making power is back in my hands, and I can plan the trip across the Pacific at my discretion. If I manage to handle this massive stretch across the Pacific on a boat, my discomfort over the flight to Sydney will dissipate. As always, hope dies last.


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