• Statue of Apollo, God of the Sun

Ashes: What Pompeii taught me about life

“The only constant about life is that it ends” my philosophy professor told us back in my university days as tears ran down our faces. It was the spring of 2010 and we were experiencing the darkest time in the history of our school: Two students were shot dead by the military inside of our campus after being mistaken for criminals.

To comfort us, our professor then told us about the history of Pompeii. He taught us about how death is never the end of life for the dead will always live inside of our memories.

Roman heritage at Pompeii

The Roman city of Pompeii

After all, History itself is the echo of those who lived before us and who no longer can directly speak to us. And yet, we can totally hear them every single day.

They are not dead, they are not forgotten, they are here among us.

Paintings at Pompeii

Murals at Pompeii

Everything dies…or does it?

As I walked in the footsteps of history in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii I saw glimpses of the daily life of the people of said era. After all, they were not really that different from us.

They loved their wine, they loved their food, they loved their loved ones and they loved to express those special moments in the form of art.

The crater of Mt. Vesuvius

The crater of Mt. Vesuvius

Some might said that Mt. Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii. Me? I believe that Mt. Vesuvius saved it. Mt. Vesuvius preserved Pompeii in ash in order for us to learn about the life of those who came before us. It was not a divine punishment, it was a reward.

Everything dies except for history itself.

The fountains of Pompeii

The fountains of Pompeii

The tragedy of Pompeii and why it matters

History tells us that the people of Pompeii had one full day to evacuate once Mt. Vesuvius started to show volcanic activity. And yet, most of them decided to stay in their luxurious villas and pray to the Gods instead of evacuating the city.

They valued their materialistic possessions more than the value of their own lives and they paid dearly for it.

The brothel of Pompeii

The brothel of Pompeii

Isn’t that a dark reflection of the tragedies that are currently affecting our world? I feel that we’re focused on how much we have that we end up forgetting how we don’t really need any of those items.

We hear it all the time: “Buy a car, buy a house, settle down” that once we finally do that, the mere taught of leaving behind the things we bought scares the hell out of us.

The more you have, the less free you are.

The Temple of Apollo at Pompeii

The Temple of Apollo at Pompeii

The most important lesson I learned at Pompeii was that we should all learn how to let go. We should all learn how to leave behind all material possessions in order to save what really matters: Our loved ones. The saddest display at Pompeii? The calcified remains of a dog who was unable to escape since its owner locked it inside the house.

Isn’t it depressing how our own selfishness affects those that we love the most? The essence of Pompeii is all about learning to value more the things we have in life and to to never take anything for granted.

Majestic Mt. Vesuvius

Majestic Mt. Vesuvius

Everything dies and the sooner we all accept that, the sooner we will grow as persons since we will treasure each single moment of our daily lives.

To be alive is to be free. And in the end that’s what I wish for you all. Be free. Be alive. Enjoy life. And treasure it.

The Man of Wonders at Mt. Vesuvius

The Man of Wonders at Mt. Vesuvius

Practical information about Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius

If you want to explore both Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius on your own, then you need to stay overnight at Naples and depart from there early in the morning. There are many tourist shuttles from Naples to Pompeii and from Pompeii to Mt. Vesuvius and back.

If your time is limited, however, you can always take an organized tour departing from Rome in the early hours of the morning.

Souvenirs at Pompeii

Souvenirs at Pompeii

For this adventure, I was invited to go with City Wonders since they are the only company that includes a stop in Mt. Vesuvius (the other companies include a stop in the Ovo Castle in Naples or at the Archeology Museum) after the visit to Pompeii.

Have you ever heard about Pompeii? Would you like to visit it? Share your thoughts and let me know what you think!

Statue of Apollo, God of the Sun

Statue of Apollo, God of the Sun

October 29th, 2014|Categories: Europe Travel|Tags: |
Raphael Alexander is a Nomadic Digital Marketer and Travel Influencer who overcame the chains of the local economy and found a way to achieve his dream of having a professional life while traveling the world non-stop. His goal in life is to inspire the people of the world to unleash their full inner potential. A perfect day for him includes exotic animals, ancient pyramids, breath-taking waterfalls and tasty tacos. Lots of tacos.

9 Comments

  1. Sammi Egan October 29, 2014 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    I want to visit Pompeii (I can’t say that word without singing Bastille). It is incredibly sad tho’, I don’t think I’d stay, I panicked whenever we had small earthquakes in the Canary Islands, which was kind of pointless since the volcanoes on the island I lived were all extinct!

  2. Hannah Logan October 30, 2014 at 4:01 am - Reply

    Interesting out take on life- one that I definitely understand after a terrorist shot and killed a soldier in front of our National War Monument and broke into our Parliament last week- such a tragedy but the soldier will always be remembered. I would love to visit Pompeii one day- it’s fascinating.

  3. Antonette Spaan October 30, 2014 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    “To be alive is to be free.” So true!

  4. The Crowded Planet November 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    This is such an amazing post Raphael. You captured the spirit of Pompeii perfectly and how it relates back to the modern day. Such an awesome place!

  5. Green Global Travel November 9, 2014 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    Pompeii inspired serious thinking on my part, too. Such a unique relic. Great thoughts about a great city 🙂

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