Today I visited the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. As I walked along the path, thinking of the thousands of prisoners who walked before me, I could hear the birds singing in the trees and stopped for a moment to appreciate the peace and quiet of the early morning. I wondered if the prisoners could hear the birds singing while they were interned there and if it gave them hope or if it was a reminder of the freedom that had been taken from them.
Upon entering the site and passing through the gates I was initially struck by the sheer size of the camp. The feeling of peace turned to one of solemnity and humble respect for those this memorial honours and remembers. It truly is a sobering experience to visit the site and the museum. Reading the first hand accounts of the horrors committed felt overwhelming at times.
The museum had an exhibition of paintings by Georg Tauber, a Dachau survivor. He not only portrayed every day life in the camp, but he also showed what life was like after liberation for the prisoners. This exhibition hit me the hardest. Art can speak across time, languages, and cultures and Georg Tauber’s paintings are a testament to lives that should never be forgotten.
I did not realise how heavy my heart had become until I was walking out of the gates. The birdsong once again inspired feelings of peace and hope, and my heart lightened. Dachau is now a memorial to all those who were tortured and killed, and to those who survived. There is a plaque near the roll call area that reads: “May the example of those who were exterminated here between 1933 – 1945 because they resisted Nazism help to unite the living for the defence of peace and freedom and in respect for their fellow man.” And that, ultimately, is what I have taken away from my visit to this memorial.
It’s a little ironic to start a travel blog when you’re planning a trip home, but this change of plans is so exciting and inspiring.
The past few years I have had the opportunity to live and work in some amazing places! I’ve met so many people that have inspired me, seen beautiful landscapes and cities that have influenced my art, and have been awestruck by the beauty of the world we live in.
I have spent the past 6 months on a working holiday in the United Kingdom. Going on a working holiday is challenging. You have to find a good work life balance; one that provides you with enough money to keep traveling, but also allows you to make time to enjoy the new location that you’re living in. You can’t sit on your couch watching Netflix every weekend or you may as well have stayed at home. You have to take advantage of the time you have because you know you have a limited time to explore the area.
This is a skill that I plan on practicing when I return home. I have never explored my small part of the world to the extent I’ve explored the new places I’ve lived in. And why not? I live in a beautiful part of Canada that is just as new and exciting to other people as Spain or Australia is to me. I live in the land of wide open skies and stunning prairie sunsets; of snowy mountain escapes; and the stark beauty of the badlands. There is so much to see and explore!
When I’m traveling it is often like I’m looking at the world through rose coloured glasses. I’m not blinded to its imperfections, but I see its beauty because of them. I see excitement every where I look. This is the traveler mindset.
Even though I will be going home soon I still want to retain the traveler mindset. I want to keep that sense of adventure and the longing to explore. I plan to approach my area of the world as if it were new to me and keep looking for the beauty of the world around me.