How can you live here in Cuba I asked my friend Tony.
What do you mean?
I mean without internet, without access to goods, supply, without anything?
Without iphones? He said nodding at mine and smiled. Because I’m happy.
But don’t you get stressed out about always needing everything here?
He said, I’ll tell you what stresses me out – when I lived in the US I was a slave of capitalism. I had a car, I had to pay for gasoline, I had to pay insurance and I had to work and work and work. I ate in the same kind of “restaurants” every day, shopped in the same kind of supermarket and had coupons for the same kind of Walmart or Target or Best Buy – and no matter where I was – I was a slave of capitalism.
How I asked? Because I needed a car to go places and to go to work – and I needed to work to live. Here in Cuba, I don’t need that I can live without working.
What do you mean you can live without working?
Ulla, my car is costing me 1000$ a month here in Cuba, if I can’t pay my car, I’ll walk, you can’t do that in the US, so you become a victim of the system. That is why I like Cuba, because I don’t have to work to live, I just live. I’m happy and I don’t think about money or problems related to money.
If I die tomorrow, I’m happy, I know that I have lived all that I could. If I had stayed in Italy, it would be all work, go home, work, go home, have kids, go home, work, work.
When I lived in Brazil I tried so many things, his face lit up. I used to work as a guide, taking tourists to the sand dunes in the middle of the night and one night I came out there with a girl – and the moon was so bright and shiny, it lit up the entire night and it was the most beautiful sight ever, it’s all about moments like those…
WOW, I said and sat there in awe, trying to picture it inside my head the way he explained it.
If you don’t take that chance, you will never be free
You know, Ulla I’ve lost everything – twice, but I got back up. Money comes and goes, but I always get back up and that’s my strength. I can do this now, right here in Cuba, because I know myself, I have the strength inside me – and you have to be ready for that, you have to know deep down inside yourself that you have the strength to do this – to be broke, to lose money and get back up, this is the only way you will be completely free, if you don’t take that chance, you will never be free.
I was out of words.
I thought to myself, this is the meaning of life, this, right here, this conversation we’re having in half Spanish, half Italian. I am so damn lucky to have met this person and the only person I can thank is myself for being curious, open minded and adventurous about life. Had I never learned Italian, living in Italy and Switzerland, we wouldn’t be having this conversation in half Italian. Had I never learned Spanish living in a small town in Andalucía Spain, I wouldn’t be able to have this conversation at all and I would have missed out on so many other beautiful conversations.
The reason why I travel so much and why I think we should all travel – at least get outside of our comfort zones once in a while, is because we need to expose ourselves in order to grow and become stronger, at least I do.
If you never take chances or risk being vulnerable or broke or what not, putting yourself out there, you miss out on life. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something.
So go out there and take that chance.