Why I travel
Take me back.
Take me back to rotting garbage on dirty streets, where water is a luxury and stink a certainty. I want to feel unwashed and threadbare sheets on hard beds, and pay more than I think I should for it. I want suspicious food, where I savor every bite, knowing it might be the one that ruins the next day. I want to take nothing for granted, be vulnerable and love everyone who shows me kindness.
I want to be concerned about bed bugs, so that I remember their absence. I want to see the malarial menace of mosquitoes so that I notice when my ankles are unblemished.
I want to be foreign to the irritation I felt on the BART train yesterday, “delayed” a couple irrelevant seconds by the guy who was too busy talking on his phone to put his ticket in correctly. I want to feel only incomprehension for the ambient discontent of the spoiled and comfortable, knowing that they are me. I want to stay shocked that people complain and grimace while they wait a few minutes for delicious, safe, nutritious food, prepared by people they won’t even bother to thank, unmindful of the insane miracle that brings it to us, every single god-blessamned day.
I want to look at those wrinkles everyone here has between their eyes, the scowl of the perpetually concerned, the mouths of unspecified tension, and feel a wash of gratitude that cleans my face and lifts my lips. I want to be aware of the masses that have so little, every country on Earth. I want to remember how scarce and precious food was for all of human history except the past tiny sliver, invisible on the timeline, and how horrifically we will return to that state…probably sooner than we realize, so that I can stand in awe in a grocery store again, unrushed, uncritical, reverent.
I want to move slowly.
I want to disconnect.
I want to be away from screens. I want to read a book.
I want to talk to strangers.
Here I have friends, but move among the distrusted, suspicious without reason, fearful until proven innocent. There is little danger here. Screw the newspapers, the evening news is a betrayal.
There I will know no one, but might move among possibility, alert and careful, but accessible and listening. The danger is much higher there. The intimacy with human brutality and human kindness, experiential and firsthand, the latter outnumbering the former, despite brutality’s instant potency.
Here I can go in comfort. I can pass my day easily, accomplishing tasks in virtual reality, e-living in binary code that I can never touch, my life erased by a magnet.
There every hour will be uncertain, the world so foreign, so unknowable, that it might touch me at any minute. It will be under my fingernails and between my toes. Present on my skin and stained into my clothes. It’s possible I will bleed. It’s possible I will help, just a little. It’s possible I will reach new magnitudes of suffering, or experience joy so visceral you’d have to pay a fortune to chase it.
Take me back. I want to travel.
This encapsulates everything I am feeling right now!
I love your blog, sometimes I feel like you write my own thoughts
I love hearing that! If I can say something that resonates, I’m a happy blogger. 🙂
This is incredibly beautiful, and you are incredibly amazing.
The perfect reasons to travel. Beautifully stated. Thanks!
Love this post. Travel’s greatest gift to me is also perspective, and fast on the heels of that – gratitude.
Beautiful! Speaks to the heart (or from the heart?) of every traveller.
Feel the world, stay alive 😉
This is a beautiful post! Traveling helps us realize how grateful we should be for the things we have in our lives, because there are millions of people in the world who don’t have basic resources they need to survive.
You are such a wordsmith! I love this post…It’s a good thing I will be on a very short travel as well in the coming days. 😀
Great post – if I could “like” it twice, I would.
Well, I am Dalim from Mumbai, India. Really, you have nicely said the perenial yearning of a human soul. Moreover the rhythm of thought, communicated through nicely worded expressions. It has left a deep impact on my mind. Expecting many more such writing from your blog,
Hello Dalim, thank you for your comment, and I’m very glad you enjoyed the blog. Most of my posts aren’t quite this…earnest, but I hope you enjoy the others too!
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