Travelling as a way of life, or all the roads inside of me

Миранда Мирианашвили рассказывает о том, что мир един и это единственный наш дом, такой тесный и такой огромный. О том, что этот дом можно сохранить только любовью и стремлением к взаимопониманию.

Travelling as a way of life, or all the roads inside of me

Миранда Мирианашвили рассказывает о том, что мир един и это единственный наш дом, такой тесный и такой огромный. О том, что этот дом можно сохранить только любовью и стремлением к взаимопониманию.

Country Miranda Mirianashvili

There is an Irish proverb about the wind — that it is the singular omnipresent force of our planet, one that we don’t have the power to lock inside. If the wind could speak with a human tongue, it may very well tell a story akin to that of Miranda Mirianashvili. Hers is a story about the world, our one and only home, at once so vast and yet still so cramped. It’s a story of how, only through the efforts of love and understanding, can this home of ours be saved.

Each person’s home is a reflection of his or her world. The doors of our home are never closed. In this sense, in the family, we hold sacred the tradition of hospitality, welcoming inside anyone who appears at our door. But, at the same time, those inside are free to dart off to the other side of the planet, disappearing at a moment’s notice. I am a wanderer, without attachments to places. And, as much as I love my home, as much of my warmth and energy I put into it, I am always looking to the road ahead. Nowadays, since the birth of my children (twins Ivan and Melania — editor’s note) I’m beginning to understand that I have to slow down, to pull back a bit, but I still can’t imagine myself being totally still. I suppose this year will be more sedentary than I am used to, and many of its plans have already been called off or shifted around. Even now, my husband (well-known businessman Leonid Ogarev — editor’s note) is in Latin America, and, following our yearly tradition, I should be, too. But the kids are taking everything out of me, and they’re the ones currently in charge of my everyday life. Soon enough, though, some time will pass, and they’ll be able to join me on the road. When that time comes, not so much will have changed.

These are the different ways of going through life: choosing to view each step as one nearer to death, or as one nearer to joy, life, and the celebration of being.

My dream is to give my children the same happy childhood, full of new discoveries and bright, vivid impressions, that my sister and I had together. We travelled a lot with our parents, and, from the age of nine, we went abroad every year. Each trip felt like an explosion of fireworks. More often than not, our journeys would begin aboard the ship from Batumi to Odessa, Dad’s car riding along with us. Once docked, the adventure proceeded by car, carried out across several territories and then into socialist Eastern Europe.

We toured half of Europe and a great deal of the Soviet republics. Still only a child, I had already seen Hungary, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Poland. The trip could stretch on for a month, or even more, time that would be spent sailing aboard ships, crossing the Carpathians and Moldavia, meeting and making friends with handfuls of people in different countries. There were at times entirely unexpected, life-changing encounters and discoveries. Once, when I was 12 years old, we went to Lvov. I should say that, no matter where we went, my parents made sure not to miss the local attractions. This brought us to the Clock Museum, where we met Nina Nikolayevna, the caretaker of this amazing place. That evening, we dined together, and, after a pleasant and leisurely conversation, a friendship had developed. That same winter, she visited us in Tbilisi. We became very close.

This is not the only such story. Sometimes we converged with entire families, the children becoming friends first, followed by the parents. By the end of the boat trip, we were like old friends. We made friends everywhere we went, from Ilyichevsk and Uzhgorod, to Astrakhan, Baku, and Bishkek. And this isn’t even to speak of places like Prague and Warsaw, which were dense with innumerable casual acquaintances. I’m talking about real friends, with whom we fit together, found kinship, a common language, whom we would continue to visit in years to come, exchanging warmth and feeling.

From my earliest years, I have existed with the clear knowledge that the world is singular, and its people are equally spectacular, in my homeland of Georgia, and in yours, in Russia and Ukraine, in Moldavia, Poland, and Africa. I cannot imagine life without the perception that you are a citizen of the world, without sensing the totality of the world. It is a marvel, a mirror that reflects each of our worlds. So why must we split it into pieces?

It was then, in my childhood, that my vagabond ability to feel comfortable in any corner of the Earth sprang into being. «Look,” it told me, “Over here, it’s just as beautiful as back home, and the food over here is just as delicious as ours!” Or even, “This isn’t quite like home, but it’s great, too!”

In my opinion, travelling is the only natural way of perceiving the world. When you find yourself in a new environment, even if you’ve already been there time and time again, you discover anew all the channels of comprehension. Watching, learning, absorbing, meeting new people, plunging into a foreign environment — it’s like a layer cake, but one you can never get your fill of. Everything is before you all at once — the visual impression of the place, the moving interactions with its people, the rhythm of local life, culture to soak in, cuisine to savour. In every country I visit, I live out thoroughly distinct, meaningful, and incomparable parts of my own life, and, for me, that is not tourism. To be a tourist, after all, is to be an observer, an onlooker, and mere observation is temporary and superficial, as if you have another, more real life that you are just collecting memories for. And that’s just fine, there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not for me. I immerse myself into that outlandish life, not just taking from it what it gives me, but also offer- ing something in return, leaving something behind, whether in Peru, China, or Tanzania. It’s like planting a tree of my own there, in that foreign soil, thus establishing my connection with its people, both distant and very near.

I think that perhaps the most important thing in life is to be able to give. To give experience, physical or financial aid, stories or histories, a piece of bread, happiness, joy, or simply a kind word. At any given moment, in any given place, there is always somebody nearby who needs you. It’s easy to forget that we need light energy, awareness of the fact that modesty will not alter the state of the world. And each one of us can take on the responsibility of showing someone in need that there is an abundance of goodness and love in the world. To me, these aren’t just words — I believe in them. And, if you possess the ability to help someone who isn’t doing so well, how could you keep from sharing that warmth? These words are full of meaning for me. This is what I live by.

When we share our inner light, our strength, we construct our own destiny, moulding and creating it for ourselves. And this is a lifelong process, because human beings are constantly striving, up until the very last moment, for positive change, spiritual growth, enlightenment.

I think that each one of us is given some resource, like a piece of clay in kindergarten, and we spend our lives sculpting our essence out of it. Even grown people were all equal at the start. We were all given the same amount of clay. Some of us never figured out what to do with it, remaining a formless lump, some squandered it, some gobbled it up, afraid it might be stolen. We all do with our clay as we see fit, according to our own choices and developments.

Every one of us is absolutely free to decide what we’re handed each day, either a chance for developing and growing, or else for withering away. These are the different ways of going through life: choosing to view each step as one nearer to death, or as one nearer to joy, life, and the celebration of being. Neither option can be imposed by one individual onto another. Our home, the world around us, and that within — these things, we must choose for ourselves.