Returning to the Land of Mystic



Returning to the Land of Mystic

I remember quite clearly sitting in the departures wing of the Lima international airport wondering about my trip back

My World...

home. What would stepping back onto my home soil mean to me? Would it be emotional? Would I use the skill sets that I learned from life on the road? Would I crumble to the pressures that are put on our minds by the constant bombardment of advertising to buy this and use that? Would my friends and family notice a difference in me? Would I notice a difference in them? To be honest, more than anything I was a little bit scared about the world I was about to set into. Would this world suck me in once and for all? But in the end, there really is no place like home is there?

Regardless of whether you chose to live in your homeland or not, there is just something warm about stepping into your home settings. Seeing familiar faces in passing on the streets and in the hallways of buildings, realizing that you’ll not get lost because you know the place like the back of your hand, and even knowing what you’re going to get in terms of food at restaurants all lends to a sensation of comfort, calm and reassurance.

If I’m being completely honest, it would have been very easy for me to stay; and may have even been the right thing to

Me finding my own path

do. I could have cuddled down into my comfort zone and let life take me on its path. But as I once told a friend, who was wondering why I was always walking on the rails and barriers and rarely on the roadside sidewalks: “if you walk on the sidewalks that life provides you, then you only see what everyone else sees, smell what everyone else smells, and experience what everyone else experiences.”

“Create your own paths,” I explained like a vagabond philosopher hopelessly preaching to an audience of the unimpressed “and if you do so then maybe you’ll find a little something different about the world you live in. And if you’re really lucky, maybe you’ll learn a little bit about yourself as well.”

I know that many of you might read this and think that I’m a naive 26 year old (although I’m really 26 and a quarter), who knows little about the real world. I’ve been told that I live in a world of fantasies where cautions can be thrown to the winds of modern time free of consequences. But I still say “what’s wrong with being a little bit naive?”

My goal, as I’ve mentioned in a few interviews that I’ve given over the past year or so, is to maintain my child-like naivety and curiosity as long as I live. Naivety, if harnessed properly, is a powerful and useful life tool. Holding onto your naivety means always maintaining your ambition to learn, and always exploring the “why?”

As I sat in the basement of my childhood home the other day I looked out on the back porch and towards the

I stand alone, and proud on one of the steepest cliffs of the death road in awe of my surroundings.

Solo on top of the Death Road

spectacular view onto the Albertan foothills. Snowflakes gently swirled spirals as they floated to the ground below. Two deer, already bearing their winter coats, stopped at the base of an apple tree planted there. They both turned and looked at me as I coughed a shallow breath. They had gooey eyes, and I couldn’t help but wonder what they were thinking. I couldn’t help but wonder what those eyes have seen. As the two fawns hopped away gracefully I wondered where they were going. And the moment that they were out of site I felt the itch in my feet stingy once again. I knew it was time to go.

Although I know that I will miss my family and friends even more this time around, I rest assured that despite that, I will forge new relationships, explore new places, and most importantly continue to grow. And in the grand scheme of things (I know that there’s been a lot of clichés in this article, but please try to stick around for the point of this), it’s not the sites, the photos, or the articles that are important in the end. What is important in the end is the personal growth that we gain by pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. It’s for that reason, and that reason alone that I will never walk on the sidewalks that life has laid out in front of me.


Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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5 Comments

  1. I love this Brendan! I don’t think you are naive just very wise. I love what you said about not walking on footpaths. What’s a footpath? 🙂

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  2. What an introspective and inspiring article! I really enjoyed reading this and hold on tight to your naiveté..it’s important as we go through life and open our hearts, minds and eyes to discover new experiences and traverse unknown journeys without constraints and biases. Thx so much for sharing!

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    • thanks for your very nice comment Jeff!

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  3. I really enjoyed this post, Brendan. It sounds like you are wise beyond your years. I also believe we can learn a lot from children and their sense of awe and wonder.

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  4. The death road is looking fascinating to me… I will feel lucky if i get a chance to visit this place. Thanks for the coverage.. .

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