Someone told me that we, strippers, are the gipsies of the modern world. And I must say I agree with that person. If you hear the word “gipsy” what other words come to your mind straight away? Let me help: Entertaining. Music. Dance. Travel. Bags. Free. Wild. Nomad. No agreement, no commitments. No rules. These words apply to strippers, too.
I love to travel. Not just to arrive at a new place, but to be on the road, to be lost in space somewhere between points A and B. Sometimes I even leave my clothes in the suitcase, I don’t see the point to put them in a wardrobe and literally get dressed straight from my bag. I use to say that I don’t have a home, but I’m home everywhere I go. And it’s true. After the second week, I got used to the new place, the new environment and start to feel I could stay even longer. But I never stay. There is always a new place waiting for me to discover. And once you got the taste of this lifestyle, this kind of freedom, it’s hard to give it up. So yes, I feel like a gipsy travelling from town to town, from country to country entertaining with my dance. Never stay long for one place, never settled down. And I make my own rules.
I was thinking a lot about what are the advantages of travelling as a dancer. What did I win during the trips?
My big dream was to travel to Japan and have been there already twice. I made my dreams come true as I travelled the world and collected lots of joyful moments. I did cage diving with the Great White sharks and went on a safari in South Africa, I visited the Niagara Falls in Canada, swam in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, I celebrated the Chinese Moon Cake Festival in Macau. Every place I visited, I tasted delicious local food. I was sunbathing under palm trees on beautiful beaches of the Caribbean, sailing on the Mediterranean sea, tasting delicious wine at the cellars in Stellenboch in South Africa. I tried bungy jumping above the Corinth Channel in Greece and walked under the blooming cherry trees in Yokohama. If I hadn’t started dancing, I would have missed out most of these memories. I live my life as I always wanted. In addition to getting to beautiful places, the adventures I have experienced have made me stronger, more resilient, more skilled, and added other benefits to my world.
- Organisation Skills
One of my friends remarked in the days how perfectly I can pack my suitcase. There is no unused square centimetre in it, everything fits perfectly. And this is so true; during the trips, I learned how to be well-organised. During the years when I travelled a lot, I learned how to live in a suitcase and take advantage of minimal space. If something needs to fit in, it will. Even I have to leave other things behind. By that, I’ve learned the priority of things, the meaning of choice. It’s a very good spiritual practise indeed. How to get rid of items I don’t need any more – sometimes even people, – lighten up the luggage and the heart, not carry oversized or overweight packages.
When I travel, I usually don’t pack anything I can buy in the stores, I’m not going to carry a half-empty bottle of shower gel when I can buy it anywhere. Not even clothes. I take fewer designer clothes with me, I pack only those that I don’t mind to get rid of if it’s necessary to make more place for souvenirs in the bag. I don’t stick to any personal stuff either. When I leave, I leave all those things behind that I don’t need anymore. This taught me flexibility. Indeed, everyone can give an example of a person who always buys the same brand of toothpaste. Well, it’s not me. I’m not a prisoner of my habits. I can use any shampoo as long as it’s suitable for my hair type, contains fewer chemicals and not tested on animals. I can eat any kind of food. And I can sleep anywhere. At the airport waiting for a flight connection, on a bus during a long drive, or on a not so comfortable small bed in a crowded backpackers. I don’t need a king size bed and tightly closed curtains to fall asleep. I’m not saying I don’t like comfort and luxury. I do love it! But I wasn’t born with the silver spoon in my mouth, and they say “Smooth seas don’t make excellent sailors”.
- Strength and Confidence
Not physical strength – although I have lifted up my suitcase quite often – but mental strength. How to stand up for myself. If I want to achieve something in life, I’m not expecting it from others, I’m not afraid to take the first step. Because I’m responsible for myself. I got into some unpleasant situations and learned how to get out of them by staying calm; I learned to use my head, solve the problem as soon as possible then go on. I learned that it is not wrong to be alone because I can always count on myself and determined not to give up easily. I learned that all those difficult times are only challenges, and the show must go on. And it always does.
- Communication Skills
I learned patience and empathy and communication skills. It was the way I learned English. I was always too shy at the school to speak up, even though I knew the grammar perfectly. You have no choice during the trip: when you want a glass of water, you ask for it or stay thirsty. No one is a mind reader out there to find out what you need. I learned how to communicate with different people from different cultures.
- Friendships and People Skills
During the trips, I met countless people, kind or less kind to my heart. But when I finish my contract, and I have to leave the place, I take only good memories with me. The bad ones I try to leave behind. I don’t want to carry the anger with me back home or to the next place. It took me a while to learn to let it go but makes my life much more comfortable. I was lucky (and thankful) enough that somebody came into my life in the very best moment to wipe off my tears and offer some help. I learned to be grateful for these people. I learned to trust and give credit sometimes to a total stranger. I learned to face problems and that in the end, somehow everything will be alright.
There are enough people around me who just complain about their everyday lives, and even if the solution is in their hands, they don’t do anything to change it. Of course, it’s easier to wait for some sort of miracle. They live in fear because they can lose their work and financial security, but they still want a bigger house, a faster car and another mobile phone. For me, the squirrel wheel came to an end when I left my regular job and started to travel the world as a dancer. With all my heart, I believe that wherever I go, every place can show me something new, teach something new, even if I don’t understand its lesson at the given moment. When I look back and open up the photo album in the armchair, afterwards, I will appreciate it, and maybe then I will find the answers to my questions. And I never forgot to be thankful for the moments I could experience. So this is it. This is my spiritual practice during travelling that gives me beautiful experiences and on the way it helps me to find the better version of myself.
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B. Lindsay Belan