What Lonely Planet Guide Books And The Bible Have In Common.
I’m not a religious person, in fact, I quit the automatic-at-birth church membership they sign you up for in Sweden last year.
However, I’ve always enjoyed visiting churches, I feel that there is something special about them, something very comforting.
I feel safe and calm when I’m sitting in a church.
For me it is the same as with guide books – they’re comforting and it makes me feel slightly safer with one in my hand, but I never really read them.
What Lonely Planet Guide Books And The Bible Have In Common
It’s not the guidebooks themselves that are the problem for me, but the way some people read them – as if they were the bible.
Now I kind of like the bible as well, it shares some really amazing stuff for living a happy life, but just as with the Lonely Planet guides (and other guides), many people misread and/or read too far into it.
So, what they both have in common, The Bible and Lonely Planet – is that they’re both guide books.
They’re there to share with you some guidelines to help you on your way, not for you to follow strictly from point A to point B.
We see people all around the world, sitting in cafes, walking down the street with their heads stuck so deep inside a Lonely Planet guide book, that they seem to forget to simply just look around at where they are and enjoy.
Guide books are there to give you hints, but it’s your task to make up your own way of doing it – there are no ‘must do’s’, or ‘must-see’s’.
I especially remember this one man who counted with his fingers all the things he had managed to tick off the ‘must do in New-Zealand-list’ in less than 3 weeks:
“I did the dolphins, I’ve done the bungy jumping, I did the skydiving, I saw the glow worms, I saw the wales, I went to the Glacier etc etc…”
He never once mentioned HIS personal experience, and when I asked him he didn’t really have anything to say about it – for him it was all about the list.
Now just to make things clear, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with having bucket lists, in fact I love them!
If it’s a list of things you really want to do, rather than a list of things you feel that you must do because everyone says so, then go and enjoy yourself while ticking off your personal bucket list.
But if you’re running around stressing to see everything, I don’t think you’ll get the most out of your stay, even if you saw more things than me.
What’s the point of living a life if it’s already decided by somebody else how you should live it?
Same goes with guide books and travel:
What’s the point of exploring if someone else halve already told you all about it and what to expect?
What adventure is worth doing when you already know what’s going to happen?
It’s like opening a Christmas present you knew you would get.
It’s still fun and nice, but not very exciting…
What I love about online travel guides and guides written by fellow bloggers is that they’re brief, straight to the point and only write about the most necessary information.
They give some examples of things to do, places to eat and stay, but only enough for you to go and explore a little yourself…
So, let yourself go, trust and have a little faith in YOURSELF, not in the book – who knows maybe you will have fun!
I love the way Paulo Coelho talks about this in his book ‘Warrior of the Light’:
”One can often ruin a good pilgrimage by reading all the leaflets, books, guidelines on the internet, friends’ comments, and arrive at the place knowing everything one ought to be discovering for oneself, not allowing room for the most important element of any journey – the unexpected.”
Things I Learned From Happiest People In The World
You learn a lot when you go traveling, especially from the people you meet along the way.
Out of all the places I’ve been, there is no place where I’ve learned so much about human beings as when we were in Vanuatu.
Despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, these people have been rated the happiest in the world.
You shouldn’t believe everything people say about rankings, so we went there to check the out and have to admit that these people really do have something that most of Western society seems to have lost.
The way they lived reminded me of many things I already knew but so rarely actually saw, or did in real life, so for that I am so very grateful.
Travel Photo – Vanuatu Wall Of Graffiti
We came across this wall in the middle of nowhere, while explore an island in Vanuatu – I think it really sums up the mindset of the Vanuatu People.
Happiest People In The World Vanuatu
Things I Learned Trust:
These people will trust anyone and everyone for no apparent reason.
For example when we were going to buy some bananas from a market lady, she was lying under the table on a mattress fast asleep.
We had to wake her up, show her that we wanted to buy the bananas, but even then she just waved her hands towards the table and told us to put the money somewhere on her table, and fell back to sleep.
That kind of thing would never happen in a Western country, where the focus seems to be more on let’s make more money and trust nobody until they prove it.
Smiling And Saying Hi To Everyone All The Time:
My mouth was literally aching after spending a few days in Vanuatu.
When you walked down the street at night, everyone would walk past saying ‘Goodnight, Sweet Dreams!’
This wasn’t just because we were tourist either, they also acted the same to each other.
They were polite and friendly without wanting something back.
Here in Europe, people often are only polite if they get something out of it, and they get very confused and at first a little suspicious if you’re friendly and talkative to them for no ‘reason’.
There it was more strange if you DIDN’T talk to the person sitting next to you in the bus van.
Take The Time To Enjoy Moments:
In the Western society I often feel like people judge you if you’re not always doing something, or always busy.
The first thing people always ask me is what I’ve done lately and what my plans are for the future.
The vibe in Vanuatu was so chill.
It really felt like time stood still, and you could find people just sitting under palm trees, laughing or sleeping by their food stalls in the middle of the day – enjoying life.
Take Your Time To Help A Stranger:
Taking the time to help a stranger is something that is so valued there, and I’ve never seen people putting in such a big effort to help you without asking for something back in return (like some tip).
In many other places you will find people are simply way too busy with their own lives to stop and care for someone else’s.
Being Curious Of You As A Person:
Coming from Sweden, we ‘need’ a very large ‘personal space bubble’.
Often we feel uncomfortable even when someone sits in the seat next to us on a bus.
Unless the bus is full, you will rarely see two strangers sitting next to each other when there are other free seats.
I did it once to test, and the person next to me was very uncomfortable, and moved away.
Here in Vanuatu people sit right down in the seat right next to you in an empty bus, look at you with a big smile of their faces and starts a conversation right away.
They are honestly curious about you, and really care to get to know you as a human being.