Wise Words: Long Way Round

Hello beautiful people!

Are you AWESOME today? I certainly hope so 🙂

Well, I’m back from a seriously amazing week in Beijing, which I will write about soon, but for now here is another edition of Wise Words. Enjoy!

“We’ve come this far, & people’s faces have changed & people’s houses have changed, & people’s beliefs may have changed, but ultimately we’re not any different from one another, you know? We all love our kids, we all need somewhere to sleep, we all need some food… We’re not all that different.”

~ Ewan McGregor

The very handsome & charming Ewan McGregor (whose name is so fun to say in a Scottish accent. Go on.. say it 🙂 ) said these wise words during an episode of his awesome series ‘Long Way Round’, which is my latest obsession.

In the show (which is also now a book & another series), Ewan & his best mate, Charley, ride their motorbikes from London to New York, travelling through countries such as France, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, & Russia.

I have to admit, at first I was really only watching it because I have a tiny crush on Mr McGregor (who doesn’t?) & I love seeing actors being so raw & discovering what they’re like without a script. But I’ve completely fallen in love with everything about the show, from learning about places like Kazakhstan & Russia to the hilarity & complete honesty of Ewan & Charley’s friendship.

One of my favourite funny moments includes the guys fixing one of their bikes on the side of a road, a car stops to see what’s going on & Ewan (aka Obi Wan) says ‘These are not the bikes you’re looking for’. Love it! 😀

It is so awesome to see two mates leaving everything behind for a few months & embarking on such an amazing adventure. The challenges they face are overwhelming, yet they never once give up or lose sight of their goal of getting to New York.

Their positive attitudes throughout the whole experience, & the awareness they have of themselves & how their mindsets affect their experiences, is an inspiration. Ewan in particular is very thoughtful in his reflections of the experiences they have, recognising the challenges as ‘tests’ that will make them stronger & make their memories of their travels that much sweeter.

Even though I’ve only travelled to a few places, mostly in Australia, then the USA when I was 17, & more recently, China, I can still really relate to this quote.

With all of the differences that set me apart from the 1.3 billion people in this country, at our core, we are all the same. We all need to eat, we all need somewhere to sleep at night, & we all need to feel love, & we all just want to be healthy & happy.

Being here for exactly seven months now, I’ve become quite accustomed to all the differences, the oddities, & the things that I once found so frustrating.

Now, I can recognise myself in everyone that I see, in the tired eyes of the workers on the street, the curiosity of the taxi drivers & the smiling faces of the children. In fact, what I’ve noticed most recently since being here in China, isn’t the spitting or the pushing or anything negative, it’s the smiling.

It started because we get stared at a lot here, & my natural reaction to anyone staring at me is to smile, & straight away they smile back. From the ancient & hunchbacked old man that lives in our building to people in the shopping malls & all the children we see every day, they all smile back.

It doesn’t matter that my skin is lighter than theirs, that I speak a different language or that I do things differently, when we smile at each other, there are no differences.

A smile is all it takes to know we are all the same.

And people are almost always willing to help us. Being in a foreign country, we often get confused or a bit lost, but there has always been someone there who has gone out of their way to try to talk to us & help us find our way again. And as I watched Ewan & Charley travel through 12 different countries, my heart smiled to see that there are people like that all over the world.

So, the moral of this story is one that seems to pop up a lot on this blog: smiling can change the world.

Smile at yourself, & you have a happy heart; smile at a stranger, & you have given someone else a happy heart.

Who have you smiled at today?

While we are on the subject of Ewan McGregor, here’s another quote of his that I love:

“I fight cynicism. It’s too easy. It’s really boring. It’s much harder to be positive and see the wonder of everything. Cynicism is a bunch of people who aren’t as talented as other people, knocking them because they make them feel even more untalented.”


Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

12 responses to “Wise Words: Long Way Round

  1. Hi Jen,
    I’m new to your blog and I have to say that I absolutely love it. Tess Marshall’s blog has been a place of inspiration for me for awhile now and then I got to stumble upon yours from hers, which was indeed awesome.

    I love this article about Ewin’s trip, because I am also looking to take an extended trip some day and I can’t wait to meet all the different people in the world. It really is a great feeling to smile at a stranger and have them smile back. It’s like a mutual understanding and always leaves you feeling good.

    Thanks for the wise words!


    • Hello Kristie, lovely to meet you! Welcome to the My Smiling Heart community! 😀 I love Tess’ blog so much, and am still so excited about being featured on it, so amazing! And oh, how I love traveling! I would so love to go on a big adventure like the one in Long Way Round, although maybe not on a motorbike! :S

      Meeting people whilst traveling is such a sweet and enlightening experience, I definitely encourage you to do it as soon as possible! And I love this line you said “It’s like a mutual understanding”, that is so true. It’s like our true, pure souls see each other when we smile at one another 🙂

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I look forward to getting to know you 😀

  2. Another great post. Thanks.

  3. “A smile is all it takes to know we are all the same.”

    I love that. It really helps to be in one place for a longer period of time whilst traveling. You start to feel the rhythm and cadence of the place, the people, the conversations. You start to drop that “I’m from out of town” feel for the “I’m just here” feel. That for me is the place where the smiles come in, the universal language.

    Oh, and I love Ewan too so I can’t wait to look this show up! I used to play the song “Elephant Love Medley” in Moulin Rouge over and over. But I’d specifically play it at the part where he says “all you need is love,” because on the third time he does something airy, sexy, sweety, bodacious with his voice. Oh my. If you have that song, do yourself a favor and listen to it a few times.

    If that won’t make you smile, nothing will!!!

    • Oh lord, I’m seriously blushing at the thought of Ewan saying “all you need is love”…. *sigh*. So dreamy! I used to sing along to that in bedroom over and over again, haha!

      I totally agree with you about the “I’m just here” feeling. It’s taken over six months for me to start really feeling “here” and actually registering the amazing transformation I have experienced, and I love that I’m growing and being more “here” every single day.

      I was going to add something else to this but I’m so distracted by the thought of Ewan McGregor that I have to go find the Moulin Rouge soundtrack right away!

      Thanks for another amazing comment! 😀

  4. Great post, I liked it a lot. Why doesn’t have a single girl a crush on Charley? He’s the cuddly bear on the team 😉

    Watch out for the Long Way-virus. Been there, done that. I am of in the sack now because of a long navigation off road ride tommorow on my BMW GS. Ewan & Charley are to blame for this (wouldn’t have it any other way)!


    Roelof 🙂

    • Charley is cool too, but Ewan… Well, if Charley ever serenades Nicole Kidman whilst on top of a giant elephant, then yes he would also be quite dreamy, haha! Plus Ewan reminds me a lot of my fiance, so I guess that has a lot to do with it 🙂

      I can feel the Long Way virus coursing through my vains. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m even considering giving motorbike riding a try *gasp!* My heart so wants to go on an adventure like Charley and Ewan’s now.

      Enjoy your ride! 😀 And thanks so much for reading and commenting, so cool!

  5. Hey there Jen. Very nice article, nice thoughts! 🙂 I love these guys because of motorcycles and I am sort of jealous for their having such a great adventure, but I must agree: it would be nothing without their great attitude and positivity. I believe they are as great in personal as they are on TV. Fantastic guys! I believe there is no man or woman on this world who didn’t feel wonderful just by watching them on TV. I hope they will read your post some day, they should. 🙂
    As about riding motorcycles, no worries, I’ll teach ya. 😉
    But first time u scratch my bike – that will be it, no more… only the passenger seat for you! :p

    • Hi there! Thank you, I’m so glad you liked it 🙂 Yes, it’s so true, it’s not really what people do, it’s how they do it. And the fact that these two best mates embarked on such a huge journey, facing sooo many challenges from day 1 – before they even left for the trip! – and never once gave up on their dream is the best kind of inspiration. I love anyone who makes their own path in life, and these guys really do that.

      Haha! I’m afraid I cannot promise that I won’t scratch your bike, I’m pretty uncoordinated!

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

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