It’s strange. One would think that it is hard to pack stuff in a backpack and sit on a plane only to wake up in the country where you will be a stranger. Without familiar faces. Surrounded with uncertainty in a completely different reality.
Leaving is easy
Someone would ask why on Earth people would do it? Why would anyone consciously threw himself into difficult situations? Who would ever willingly chose to be sweaty, hungry, nervous, in a constant search for a place to stay and in the eternal care where the wallet and passport are? Why?? Why?!!??
As a woman who finally allows her life to be shaped by the coincidences and sweet moments, I ask a counter question. How do you go from new friends and new places to not have a hard time? How do you go from living on the island in Thailand where time is not important to European punctuality and money obsession? How to move from fighting like a warrior against the tuk tuk drivers; sometimes spending the whole day without eating, and for hours in the sun to the: “Lunch is on the table”. “You need to eat more”. Or a small talk, gossiping and negativity.
Aaaaaa! No one is to blame but once when you saw what others did not, you can no longer pursue with small talks.
(Hua Lamphong, Bangkok, Thailand)
Challenges vs. difficulties
Now I know that for me, and I believe for many other travelers, “leaving” was not the hardest part. Nor being sweaty, hungry, worried, sometimes nervous and many times alone. But going back to the place where family and friends are.. Going back “home”, where our “survival tactics” are out of purpose and everything is more or less predictable. Why? Well, where some people see unnecessary difficulties, the travelers often see challenges. Once we hop on the Road less traveled, the life we used to know slowly fades away… We embrace adventure. At first we are ignorant of almost everything and that excites a sense of childlike wonder. Then we become explorers. Reincarnation of Indiana Jones. History has never been more alive and within reach. Finally we give voice to that which we didn’t understand before. We feel at home in so many different places. Our mind gets seduced with the notion of freedom and possibilities. We see what we see, the beauty and ugliness of this world. When life is lived so fully, surrounded with like-minded souls, we often forget that parallel world where life is not happening so fast, still exists.
The journey itself is Home
But we block that fact. Finally we move wildly. We no longer get strange feelings when we’re about to leave a place because now we know that home can be found anywhere.
Why is it hard to return to the place where it all began? Maybe because we realize that we are the ones who changed the most?
Some may think that we think it’s boring to be “home” again. It’s not about that. We are changed. I am changed. It’s hard to explain what travel does to you.. I found this quote in a book that I read before I went. It might help with explanation.
“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”
– Pascal Mercier, “Night train to Lisbon”
Sometimes I feel like we are yearning for some place that doesn’t exist. Blessed are the ones who are happy with a sedentary lifestyle. I mean it. Because the travelers… No sunrise finds us where sunset left us. We are never lost. It’s always an “adventure”,my 60-year old travel buddy Greg taught me in Vietnam. Some places robes us and some gives us gifts.
The journey itself is our home.