The Butterfly Effect- an unfolding theory in travel

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ December 16th, 2009. Published in: Travel blog » How to live overseas » Philippines.
Mating Butterfly's in Peurto Princesa (click to enlarge)

Mating Butterfly's in Peurto Princesa (click to enlarge)

If one butterfly beats it’s wings on the other side of the world, can it effect you?

Butterfly sunning itself in Palawan

Butterfly sunning itself in Palawan

That’s the basic idea of the “Butterfly Effect”.  Also knows as the Chaos Theory, but butterfly’s are nicer sounding and imply more. Either way I do believe in the idea.

Travel’s grass is always greener

Back in Peurto Princesa I finally had a chance to catch up on a lot of email that I found difficult to get to over the past few weeks. During a trip to the Butterfly Gardens I couldn’t help but reflect on a few things from my inbox:

Someone emailed me and wrote they’d simply have had enough of the

The butterfly garden in Palawan

The butterfly garden in Palawan

corporate life. They’d read my recent series of living on an island and said they’d been reevaluating things in their own lives. They wanted to travel around India for a year to find themselves again.

Likewise I got an email from someone in India wanting so much to leave their country and find a better place to live, namely the U.S.A. This is a little different, but it’s in a similar vain. They have a good job now in India, but realize it might not be the case if they leave.

Both sides of the coin want to “get away”

A Kaleidoscope of Butterflys in Palawan

A Kaleidoscope of Butterfly's in Palawan

In the Philippines one of the most common comments I get when they hear my story is how much they too would like to leave and find a new home. But, visas, work, money, politics all get in the way. And too many are defeated before even trying.

We all want a similar thing, something “better” but don’t quite know how to reach for it  – the answers quite easy, but actually doing it; is hard work.

I made sacrifices to get where I am now. Years of sacrifices that I surely do not want to go through again. As mentioned in my about page I worked my ass off to get here. It’s not a simple holiday, whim; nor time out. Finding a place to call home is my life. And, I am not the only one trying.

There is for sure a family living in Chennai looking for the same thing I am. It’s a different road they are on, but the map’s the same.

What goes around, comes around – even in travel

Butterfly winds beating

Butterfly wings beating

A lady sent me a great email about making her mind up, quitting her job, selling her car and taking off for 2 years to South America and then Asia volunteering. She’s never traveled before, is in her 50’s and said she wanted to see beyond the TV screen before it was too late. She mentioned feeling inspired by reading through my own journey here.

And in turn I have been inspired by the struggles of a sub-Saharan nomad I met as he told of his journey across the desert to find a new home. Of an Indonesian woman and her ordeal on a small boat for days at sea. And indeed, in turn, by that same 50 year old lady that emailed me to tell me she wants to see things before it’s “too late“.

So what happens when that butterfly across the world beats it’s wings?

We all have different dreams and goals in our lives. Sometimes they are of a similar theme. A better life. But we do need to differentiate from a “the grass is greener” mentality.

While in El Nido I had a lot of time to reflect on the past few years, and the journey as a whole. The mistakes, and the right things I’ve made. There’s no book out there to say how to do this. So I am learning all the time as I travel along this road to home.

The one thing I can relate to more now than ever before, is that I am far from alone in my wishes. I may not be from a slum in Chennai, but I’ve fought equally as hard to get this far. I know this because when I sit with the people other travelers walk by on the streets of many a city; and we talk,  and listen; and more importantly – realize our common bond. There is a mutual respect. An understanding.

It matters not our skin color, economic background, creed nor nationality. We are all striving for a better life in search of a place we can call home.

Maybe, just maybe our individual efforts are helping others do the same as we travel similar roads with different maps.

Coming Soon:

Meeting Gustav, and moving into a place most don’t want to go …

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7 Great responses to The Butterfly Effect- an unfolding theory in travel

  1. flip says:

    what a nice and honest post…

    spot on…

    “most people felt already defeated before they even tried”

    i remember when i first quited my job to travel, everyone said it’s the most stupid idea ever, and i did it again after a couple of years…

    and i might do it again but next time, ill try to make it longer than six months

    all of us regardless of our background are driven to achieve our dreams and goals… only a few dare to jump and really reach them.

    keep on traveling and keep on writing. your journey is an inspiration to a lot of people. hope you find your “home”.

    • -flip- Hi Flip, thanks. Lot’s of people are surprisingly negative about others going traveling for long stretches. But then if one reads through many books, and online travelogues you’ll see the opposite; with people saying negative things about the 9-5 lifestyle too.

      You are very right in saying “only a few dare to jump”. I certainly hope your plans for future travel come together for you too!

  2. yee says:

    Very well article, nice job!

    Everybody tend to look for better life, but as you said, few dare to jump and defeated even before they started…

    Things might be easier said when someone only have to be responsible to oneself, just like you…so I considered you to be lucky because whatever you do, you can do it right away. For lots of people, they might need to think about lots of thing before they can even make a decision for themselves…

    Being able to dream and fight for what you’ve been dream for is really wonderful…so I wish you the best of luck in making your dream come true and finding your home…

    Happy Holiday tou you!

  3. Dave says:

    Keep fighting. The experience you gain from your journey will be far greater than those who struggle to make a living( if you can even call it that) from a dead end 9-5 job. Life is too short and spending it all in a little cubicle is somewhat wasteful don’t you think?

    I wish you best of luck and hope you can find your magical place which you can truly call (without regrets) your home.

    • -yee- Nice to see you here again yee. Having a support network would actually make things easier. But such is ones lot. I fully understand your point though. With responsibility comes a lot. Happy Holidays to you too!

      -Dave- Thanks Dave. Yes the 9-5 is not for everybody, neither is a full time travel life though. I’ll be happy as you say when I find a place to truly call home.

  4. Bruks_pt says:

    Flip is right… this is an honest blog. I don’t know who you are, but you sure do have my respect. God be with you in your journeys.