1st July, 201
Somewhere in France, heading through Germany towards Switzerland
Travel allows for sitting meditation. The mind luxuriates in the kind of tranquility that only an open road can bring. The soul too finds its opportunity to breathe. It inhales deeply and exhales slowly, as it releases months, sometimes years of bottled feelings. Some are simple emotions, others complex, with jagged edges.
As the countryside swooshes by in swirls of green, the mind relaxes. There are no thoughts today, no worries, no plans, no tasks to be completed, no words to be spoken, nothing. Clear. Like the highway itself. There’s only a sense of profound appreciation for the moment.
It’s a funny paradox, every minute advances you further towards journey’s end and yet, the feeling is that of calm and stillness. Almost like an out of body experience, the real you floats above in the ether watching the physical you make your way from point to point on a map, stopping intermittently for little bursts of reality before you retreat again.
I wonder why we need a periodic escape to feel alive like this. Why does it take a visa to a strange city or verdant wilderness to rediscover sides of you that you don’t see enough. Why does one feel more at home exploring these places, than when at home itself? The company of friends though valuable sometimes pales in comparison to the company of strangers. There are no expectations here, no masks, just you and them enjoying the intimacy of a fleeting moment shared. It’s kind of incredible how potent an encounter can be. Words spoken, experiences shared, all of them live on with you. Like keepsakes they remind you of something special, you feel alive again, you imagine that moment over and sometimes you break into smile. When you least expect it, the sounds of a familiar tune or the mention of a city will brighten up your day.
Everything you experience becomes a part of who you are. Like a patchwork quilt you begin to add bits and pieces till you’re left with a fabric of mismatched colors. There’s no uniform patter in the stitches, it looks ragged and lacking the finesse that comes from the hands of an expert. But the stitches are special to you, each one carefully done, holding together the myriad memories. There is love in the details, nuances that catch only your eye.
You think your patchwork is a thing of beauty, so you display it proudly like a fine tapestry. While everyone else examines, speculates and conjectures, you listen, amused. You chuckle sometimes, you smile even when a random comment touches a nerve. You know what the quilt represents. Only you know.
Travel experiences are beautiful, spiritual even, they entertain, nourish and heal. Plans are great, but sometimes not knowing can be exhilarating too. You miss the ones you love but you carry them with you wherever you go. Home, afterall is no longer a physical space. Home is a feeling. When you travel you leave parts of you in all the places you go but you carry with you so much more than you realize. All of it becomes part of who you are, it stays with you and suddenly everywhere begins to feel like home.