Does Travel Set You Free?

Does Travel Set You Free?

We have a Guest Author today – John Falchetto! John has lived and worked in Egypt, Canada and the UAE and now he lives with his wife and daughter in the south of France. Take it away John!

“I know but one freedom, and that is the freedom of the mind.”
~ The Little Prince ~
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

When I boarded that flight to Amman, Jordan in 1996 I felt that leaving Canada would allow me to leave more than just a country behind me. The decision to move towards the unknown would allow me to quit many habits and relationships which were unrewarding and crippling me.

Deluded in believing that travelling meant being free I spent the next few years moving around some of the most turbulent areas of the Middle East. Until one night in a tiny tea shop in Sanaa, Yemen.

‘What is one thing you always bring with you on your travels?’ asked a blind man with whom I had been talking about the political situation in his country.

I thought long and hard, well a toothbrush, a laptop, a camera, OK not always a camera and sometimes I didn’t bring my laptop. A long list of travel items later, punctuated by the word no, the old blind man learned forward and whispered as if confiding a secret,


At first, I thought, well, of course, this is obvious. With time I acknowledged that no matter the destination, we never really leave home. This is why the grass is never greener, no matter the field; we always travel with our fears, our anxieties, and our dreams.

The lure of the exotic and unfamiliar is why travel brochures do so well, but my most important journey is the one I take every day with myself. Visiting my fears, doubts and embarking with my dreams is really where I enjoy going. After years of travelling across the world, I have started to find what I was looking for abroad and I don’t need a boarding pass to visit it.

Have left your country, city, a job because you felt your life would improve? How has changing your environment changed you?

photo credit: Yuichi Kosio

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