Traveling to a new place is like taking a cold shower in an unfamiliar bathroom. First you fumble around, not knowing what any of the knobs and buttons do. This shower is too small, the water pressure is too weak, where do I hang up my towel? Then you flinch away from the cold water. This sucks. I want to get out. I miss the comfort of the last place I called home. But you know you need a shower, so you stay. You start slow, you legs and arms can take the cold water, but not your head yet. You curse a little along the way. Grab the soap, lather up. Soon enough things fall into place. You get used to the cold water. Then you are on auto-pilot. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat. You have to get out. But you just got comfortable. The water just started to feel nice. Oh dear you’ve been in the shower for half an hour already. Time to leave again.
Perissa, Santorini, Greece.
I met an immigration officer who spoke to me. Nicely. And not about issues with my passport or visa or boarding pass or anything of that sort. He spoke to me about my travels. It was kind of like small talk, which was a little strange. He looked at my passport and saw the visas in there and asked me if I was going to Japan for school. Negative. I just got back from Hiroshima three days ago and my summer break just started.
“Where are you going then?” he asked cheerfully, genuinely curious instead of just asking as part of procedure. I paused for a fraction of a second, my mind temporarily blanked on my final destination. You have to cut me some slack, I don’t meet friendly immigration officers very often. “I’m going to … America,” I eventually replied. He flipped through my passport. “America, India, Japan, you’ve been around! Are you traveling while studying?” Affirmative. He’s spot on, actually.
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Some words are better spoken. Thus I did just that. It was enjoyable, so follow me on SoundCloud and hopefully I will be making more of this.
Every time I find myself at a train station, I am hit with this overwhelming urge to run away, start a new life and not messing it all up this time around. But then just like almost every other dreams I’ve ever had, that running away fantasy ended up in the same old dusty attic.
Music: “The 49th Street Galleria” by Chris Zabriskie
Life is a hospital in which every patient is obsessed with changing beds…It always seems to me that I’ll be well where I am not, and this question of moving is one that I’m forever entertaining with my soul.’…’poets’, who could not be satisfied with the horizons of home even as they appreciated the limits of other lands, whose temperaments oscillate between hope and despair, childlike idealism and cynicism. – Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel.
I, for all of my almost-two-decade-long life so far, have been walking forwards facing backwards. Partly because I want to remember what the past was, and to hold on that whatever that is that made me the person I am today. But mostly because I am an adrenaline junkie. Not in the sense that I want to go zip-lining every waking moment, but more like I want to always have exciting things happening in my life.
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