Monday, January 14, 2008
Passenger Returns: An Epilogue
Motivated by a strong sense of travel nostalgia, missing the blogger template, and feeling the urge to write something, I have returned. Back to 'Passenger' for one last stint. The return, the re-adjustment, coming home, has long been the forgotten element of travel: the unwanted child that we choose to shun.
'Tis very unlikely that anyone will actually read this post, but I have long since learnt that real blogging is for yourself. Most people didn't even read your goddamn blog that provided your only source of sanity on the road. Bastards. You write it to conceptualize your experiences. To understand the randomness that solo travel is. To share it -even if it is with a keyboard. It is both ironic and bitterly tragic that the strangest place to travel is one you thought would be the easiest: home.
Today marks the three month anniversary since I stepped back on the foreshore of Australia and marvelled at the luxury of modern world: roads without the pungent odor of cow-shit and poverty; retail service that is actually efficient; and hotel rooms with linen you can trust. Later on came the awkwardness and an uncanny sense of disconnectedness in a world of familiarity.
Conversations that make you bitter.
('How was your trip?' To which you reply either a)good, b)good and bad, or c) ok, not because you don't want to share your experiences, but the painful reality that most people don't actually want to hear your stories in vivid detail.)
A painful meet-up with the ex-girlfriend.
(A sense of longing for her but knowing that with time things have changed. I miss her.)
The stark and sheer ugliness that Western consumer society can be.
(What is this sensation? I want this. I want to buy this. No I don't. I was happy with nothing but my backpack, my writing pad and the road. And now I feel insecure cause I don't have a cool new Nokia.)
Am I losing it? Why it is that some people seem to be able to easily adjust back to the old life? And here I am, trapped in this pseudo Neverland, either here or there. Can I go back to the old self? The one motivated by success and status, driven to participate in activities to come across as successful when in all honestly, I was so happy with nothing. Perhaps I have just been reading too much Buddhist philosophy and I just need to have a beer.
And so it continues. The inevitabilities of life have to be faced: work, finances, old friends, family. And as travel memories lose their potency and vividness, slowly becoming fainted pictures that you look and reveal in once in a while, I take stride. I will go back. I want to see the world. The people. The wonder. The beauty. I want to be lost again: the freedom that comes with being alone in a foreign land is both terrifying and liberating. I am addicted. I want to marvel at the pure simplicity of communicating with someone whose language you do not share - but later on, somehow laughing and finding commonality in all. I want see the ugliness of the world - the real world, not this Truman-Show existence that we live here in Australia. I want to understand, to know, that money does not bring happiness, despite how much we are brainwashed to think it. I want to get myself in painful and random situations: ones that I will hate at the time, but will look at on in retrospect and laugh. I don't want to live an ordinary life - following the corporates and being 40 and realising I wasted my life chasing the elusive pull of wealth. Of success. Of power. I want stand on fucking mountain top in Central Asia and scream at the top of my lungs, knowing no one is going to understand me , so I can say whatever the hell I feel like. I want to experience that laugher with comes with cultural differences. I want to understand people. I want to try new foods. I want to listen to music I have never heard of. The world is here to be explored - I want to do it with all my might. I don't want to be a tourist; I want to go to places and see other's people worlds, their lives. I want to write about it. And live it.
Back to reality.
And although this post has become more of an embarrassing diary entry rather than a blog posting, I am not really that worried. No one is going to read this anyway. It is the unwanted child after all. The final chapter that gets left in the shadows - no one wants to hear about it. It ain't exciting like the other children. No one really cares about it. Except me, of course.
Till the next trip.