Prague in Black and White

I had decided to rewrite this into a more concise and polished form, but I thought why not just post the unedited free flow of thought. Before doing so, I wanted to give some clearer thoughts. On this trip to Prague, I realized I was doing something which I didn’t have a wholehearted desire to do: I was traveling for traveling’s sake. I realized this action doesn’t align with my values, that no matter how I tried to justify it, I just couldn’t when I thought about how I want to spend my time. With the time I have left in Europe, I hope to focus my time on connecting to the culture of Vienna, exploring the Austrian countryside, and to see the beauty that is in front of me.

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Unedited free flow:

Do I enjoy traveling? I wonder. I don’t think I enjoy traveling in the sense that I am seeing new things. It is not so important that I see a new statue, new cathedral, or castle. But what matters has always been about the experience. I always want to gain something, a skill, an insight from the experiences I have. That is not to diminish the importance of having experiences just to have experiences.

I enjoy listening to jazz but not without also wanting to do it, to try it, and to be a part of it. This is something I need to realize. I suppose this is why I have trouble going on what people call ‘vacation’. It’s a norm which doesn’t exactly speak to who I really am.

The truth is, I prefer experiences of learning new skills. I suppose this is why. Traveling is selfish for me. In Prague, it was about me enjoying my time. This use of time has never been one I liked. For me, time should be used to give to others and to make others happy. And that is the true nature of traveling to me. I don’t particularly have a desire to go to Greece, Rome, Italy, Barcelona, and other places. I’m already at another place which is Vienna.

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Letna Park.
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Jazz at Pilsner Urquell.

I have to ask myself is this what ‘rest’ really looks like? Does rest look like traveling to other countries to enjoy yourself on delicious food and seeing historic sites that you don’t know anything about? No. You didn’t have interest in it before, yet why do you construct interest when you’re there?

That is not to dismiss the idea of traveling countries. For example, I consider cycling across Europe to be an activity that would be an example of how I want to spend my time in ‘rest’. How do you define rest? That really is the question. What did I gain from going to Prague in the Czech Republic? The verbiage to speak with others that did the same? A shared commonality at a superficial level. I suppose it’s really about analyzing the values behind the motivations of why we travel.

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At first thought, rest to me looks like the self resting at peace with the world that wasn’t made by humans. The world that which always was. That has always been rest for me. That has always been my outlet, a place I could escape into, a time where I can flow about. For me that has inhabited the form of cycling, reading, love, enjoyment. And for much of that, all those activities involve human inventions. I suppose what I really seek to take a break from is the responsibilities society places on you: college degree, salary expectations, future weight, friends and family expectations of you. It’s not so much about escaping the world that humans created. It is to escape into a space that holds solely you.

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St. Vitus Cathedral.

Moving forward, I will try to minimize excursions for excursions sake and instead nestle myself in Austria. It is not without a doubt that these experiences do show you a lot about the world. I have never seen a castle and seeing the castle expanded my very own sense of historicity. It really is something to say that history existed, that history was, and that history continues.

This is all true. These are the deeper reasons to why I hesitate to respond when someone says lets travel together to me.  I travel for people. And that encapsulates friendships, but moreso to gain skills and experiences that will make me better at making others happy. Whether that comes in the way of knowing how to cook a new dish, learning new things from people different than me, and practicing science. This is the true nature of me that I cannot escape from. I can’t waste my life doing things that society deems fun. I can’t prioritize that fun over what makes me happy. I will never forget the memories made in Prague; walking on the streets with a new friend towards Petrin Hill at night. They are sweet and beautiful memories of youth. But I no longer want to travel to see these new places. I travel for people. And the layers to that extend deep into the ground.

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An afterthought: What are the moments that we remember and try to cultivate? And what characterizes those moments? I often find that the happy moments are the moments where there is no agenda, no motive, but rather, just fun for fun, happy for happy, joy for joy.

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