I grew up with the idea that I had to be a good child, a successful student, a trusted member of my community. But it never seemed to be enough. I felt under constant pressure to improve, to get to the top, to cope with the mutations,  challenges, or threats of the jungle called life. I studied economics, then law, then psychology, at graduate and postgraduate levels. I was trained, like everyone else in my generation, to become a highly rated human resource. But my inner resources, especially my creativity, pushed me in other directions. The two paths became more and more separate, so the playwrights, poems and travel diaries that I wrote during this time remained hidden in my drawers.

Perhaps as an outward sign of my restlessness, my lifestyle has always kept me on the run. In academia, consultancy or negotiations, whether I was working for small companies or large organizations, I was on the move. I refused to be stopped by fatigue or illness, but not so much out of ambition as out of fear not to fall behind. I changed jobs, homes and countries, on average, every couple of years. Even when I settled down, I was still spending more time traveling abroad than staying home. My solitude, initially a side effect of this lifestyle, gradually became the rule: I didn’t know what else to do with my free time, other than to travel by myself. But there was also an advantage. I learned to do it so well that my travels became my most daring dreams brought to life, in unique combinations of sweet, euphoric, incredible, scary, irresistible, surprising experiences…

The midlife crisis confronted me with painful and imminent choices – truth, freedom, self-fulfillment… beyond concepts or ideals, they became vivid and acute aspirations. It was time to listen to what life was trying to teach me. In this context, writing became my best friend again, giving me the means to give back, through words, meaning and gratitude. This is how the project “7 years travelling alone” came into being.

Sadly, this moment coincides with a generalized crisis – one that threatens to plunge us all into an ocean of uncertainty. What will we choose – to stay chained in fears and calculations, ignoring the voice of the soul, or to walk boldly into a reality of our own making – I still don’t know, but I hope this time we will all make a better choice. After my seven years of initiation, I am ready to try.

Akanisi Radu, April 2020