It’s well known that traveling is one of the best experiences in life, even more in the 21st century. A quick search will yield you a million results on clickbait articles titled “Ten reasons why it’s worth it to travel to an unknown country”, “The five revelations I had on my trip to Morocco” and even “20 things I learned on my trip to the Middle East”. You won’t find any of that here.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the Earth all one’s lifetime— Mark Twain
But I do have lots of things to write about after my first international trip. mi first Wikimania. My first time in the Old Continent… it was a trip with lots of first times.
I usually edit and prepare carefully my posts, but this time I want it to have a rough flavor, non-polished and very lightly seasoned. I’ll write and edit only the most essential things, but everything will be more or less just as I am thinking about it. Let’s go
It’s not the first time I fly, but it’s my first trip that lasts more than 6 hours. Fortunately, I had the fortune of being seated next to two great friends so we could shoot the shit, share some wine and avoid the embarrasment of asking someone to make way so I could go to the bathroom. The plane itself was new, comfortable and nice.
I haven’t flown that much and maybe that’s why the whole thing almost seems like magic to me, the ability to make an oversized tin can hover above the Atlantic.
The there’s the physical separation from one’s country, the land that saw me born. The travel itself is a nice time to think, between siestas, what it means to be far away from home or even the very meaning of the word “home”
Unlike most of my friends thought, I wasn’t on vacation there. It’s true that I couldn’t wait to know the financial capital of the world, but the event itself is an unrepeatable experience.
It’s one thing to travel around the world, meeting different people, knowing new places and customs. But it’s more efficient to make people from all around the world travel to the same place to share knowledge («That’s what we’re doing»). That way, you only have to travel once and instead of spending your time in security checks and customs, you can give away mexican candy and share ideas.
At the same time, it was all about taking notes for next year’s event. Everyone’s complains, the ideas they’d like to see become realities when we make this conference in Mexico City Ivan Martinez, president of Wikimedia Mexico, on the announcement of Wikimania 2015 (cc by / Sebastiaan ter Burg / Flickr)
I was frankly surprised to see our future guests’ reactions when we made the 2015 announcement. Many were astounded by the venue (the Vasconcelos Library), many were excited about knowing Mexico, about learning spanish, about getting infected with the enthusiasm exuded by the organizing team.
I’d lie if I told you I didn’t go out to know London a bit.
But I live in a Big City and I know Big Cities always have something new. There’s always a museum, a plaza, a fountain, a path, a building you have to know. In these, there are galleries, art expos, concerts, gastronomic demos, artists of all kinds.
I knew only a bit of the city, but I think it was enough given the time I actually spent there.
I’ve learned in my (few) travels that I prefer to know less things, but to know them with gusto. Of course, I wanted to photograph the shit out of London every step and every half block, but I doubt that would’ve improved the experience.
I took a lot of pictures, but I didn’t take pics of everything I found, but only the indispensable shots, the unmissable ones. I believe my walks through London would’ve been actually bad if I had decided to capture everything.
In essence, it all boils down to knowing it will all be gone. That even if I wanted to, I can’t know all of London, not even the City of London. That my time there will eventually come to an end and I’d rather leave some unknowns as a promise or dream of coming back one day.
I enjoyed walking, I enjoyed my feet hurting like hell as they’ve never hurt before. I enjoyed the jokes with old and new friends. I enjoyed the buildings that rest only on my memory and I enjoyed running through the Tube even if i couldn’t grasp its beauty.
That, to me, is to live in the moment.
Goodbye London. thank you for Wikimania, and the people I met there. Thank you for being an awesome experience with my old friends. Thank you for being the backdrop of new friendships.
Thank you for being a challenge, a dream and a promise. Thank you for your long, senseless streets, thank you for your kebabs and your millions of immigrants who remind me of that song’s lyrics: «home will be where your heart is».
Thank you for being a cherished memory that I want to keep until the day I die. Thank you for taking me in. Thank you for letting me get back to my dear City of Palaces.