Growing up in a country that restricted its citizens’ travel, fueled my desire to travel even more. In communist Poland one couldn’t own a passport. You were able to borrow it from the government to travel for a certain period of time, but you couldn’t hold on to it. In addition you had to ask for permission from the government to allow you to travel. There were loads of forms to fill out and long application lines to stand in just for the chance to ask the government for permission to let you out of the country. And most countries were off limits to average citizens like us. We were able to go to Czechoslovakia or Hungary for example, other communist countries, but West Germany, United Kingdom, or United States was a total fantasy. Only few were fortunate to go that distance.
But our family hated restrictions. We did everything we could to stay mobile. If it wasn’t a trip to the beach, it was a drive to the local lake or a camping trip. And when I felt like I was stuck, I hopped on my bike and rode all over the neighborhood.
Mobility means freedom
It was an old bike, one my dad had as a kid called Karate. From the very first moment I sat on it, I knew I was in love. My bike and I were inseparable. We spent hours and hours together and my day was never boring as long as I had my bike by my side. I could go to new places, see new things, and be an explorer. As long as I had my bike, I had mobility and to me being mobile meant being free. My bike was my freedom and freedom meant happiness.
Freedom is an essential part of happiness
Today I still feel that when I am in motion I am happy. When I am walking, running, riding my bike, driving, riding the train, or flying on a plane, I feel a sense of joy overcome me. I love being in motion and the feeling of anticipation of what awaits me around the curve, and what I will discover next on my journey. And it’s never about the destination, because that usually signifies the end of me staying in motion.
Despite having an office job, I still find ways of staying in motion by either biking to work, running during lunch, walking the long way to my favorite cafe or lunch place, or simply by getting up and going for a 20 minute walk, regardless of the weather, because I know that even on a bad day, my mood will improve if I am in motion.
The Girl on a Bike
On this picture, I wanted to capture the very essence of happiness while staying in motion. The girl is looking forward as she goes by the frogs, the birds, the trees, and the flowers. The wind is blowing in her face and she feels connected with nature, and therefore she is connected with herself. She is right here in the moment and enjoying her bike and the freedom she feels while riding through the hills and valleys. In this moment she is on top of the hill. She climbed a long time to get to the top of it, and she feels a sense of satisfaction that she has worked hard to get here–a place from which she can see the road ahead and is free to move ahead.