What’s travelling like, really?
Travelling is three camera batteries and a soggy burger wrapped in a t-shirt in your backpack. Travelling is maps from cities you forgot to take out of your pocket.
Travelling is hazy streetlights outside the bus window, a world of happy strangers in a city you never thought you’d see. Travelling is nodding off tired and exhausted as the lights pass you by, blissfully succumbing to whatever time zone your body imagines it is in.
Travelling is being woken up by a stranger. ‘The train ends here, buddy. Do you know how to get home?’
Travelling is smiling at everyone because that’s the only language everyone understands. Travelling is always being smiled at because you’re a traveller.
Travelling is the best way of growing up and staying young at the same time.
Travelling is peeling yourself naked, holding out your prejudices and your assumptions for every person and every country to shoot arrows through. Travelling is asking the tall tattooed guy with the giant dog for directions, and giving him a hug before you part.
Travelling is including everyone. Sharing a smoke with a construction labourer, and explaining a prescription to a strange old man at a bus stop you’ll never see again.
Travelling is all your moments curled up into a single infinite stretch of time, as if you forgot to blink for days.
Travelling is looking up at a different ceiling every night, as a crowd of new thoughts lull you to sleep.
Travelling is becoming someone different with every mile you add. Travelling is stopping by the road, taking off your worn shoes, and thinking about who you are now.
Travelling is sometimes being at home, at a rare passing moment with strangers sharing a beer over something deep and familiar. And then leaving, because being at home was not the purpose.
Travelling is a bunch of crumpled names and phone numbers picked up from everywhere you went. Numbers you may never call but will preserve for ever.
Travelling is meeting so many people you realize there’s no point taking down everyone’s number. The world is your social network, and you stop to care.
Travelling is also about being from somewhere. You cannot really be from somewhere unless you are somewhere else.
Travelling is telling them what home is like, and the wonderful inexplicable joy when everyone understands.
Travelling is being stranded in a train station in a city you don’t know, and having to trust people because you must go to sleep. Travelling is waking up and finding everything right there. Or some things missing, and getting up and moving on. Travelling is to forgive, because everyone is in trouble.
Travelling is a sudden thunderstorm in an alien city, when you stop and sit on the pavement and think of home, and suddenly can’t tell the rain from your tears.
Travelling doesn’t stop. Travelling is restless, unquenchable, all-devouring.
Travelling is forever. That’s what it’s like.
Travellers’ hostel. Prague, Czech Republic.
6 thoughts on “What’s Travelling Like?”
That’s a great perspective of the myriad nuances associated with travelling.
If I were to ask you to pick up two of these which energise you, which ones would they be and why?
Hello Shakti and thanks a lot for dropping by.
I’d say my strongest reasons are paragraphs 7 and 11, i.e. the prejudice thing and the becoming a different person. They are a bit interlinked. I think those are the most profound ways in which travelling leaves a permanent impact on me.
Reading this, I keep going back to all those moments spent in Kolkata this summer. So much of what you said above resonates within me. Summer 2013 was by far the most unanticipated and impulsive way I’ve lived my life. It sure doesn’t get any better than that.
You elusive, social-network-avoiding person.
I’m sure that in your travels and experiences to come, it will get much better than summer ’13!
Also, get your ass on facebook already.
‘That’s what it’s like.’ Truly :). Nice one.
Long time, Swasti. Happy to see you drop by.