All the Way Back

“You go away for a long time and return a different person – you never come all the way back.”
~Paul Theroux

I wander. Most would call it travel, I suppose, but most of the time it feels just like putting one foot in front of the other.

Thanks to generous parents, I journeyed early and have never stopped. I love the discovery, the adventure, near or far, that traveling brings.

I don’t see myself as a tourist or even a visitor. I often feel instead like a peripheral witness, somehow becoming the proverbial ‘fly on the wall’ soaking in experience.

My blonde locks and blue eyes don’t do me too many favors in the “blending in” department, but I believe I’ve been lucky enough to truly sit amongst and within brief glimpses of this world.

In my urge to document, understand, and process I often struggle with how to accurately convey my thoughts. Travel is the one time when telling the story seems simpler. The odd, the petty, the seemingly mundane are all enlivened by some sense of their new place within the tale that will be told of this time.

The bus ride becomes “The Bus Ride,” the two-hour delay becomes “The Two Hour Delay,” and so on. Perhaps that’s what our fascination with digital documentation is today – an honest attempt to imbue our day with a measure of newness, of risk, of that flighty temptress adventure.

As I contemplate what steps to take next, I feel the confidence of those I’ve taken before. None have been what I’ve imagined, but all have offered me fleeting moments sitting in the middle of a bazaar, on the top of a mountain, and yes, even on those interminable bus rides, when life makes just a little more sense.

***

Thanks to Basil for the musical inspiration!

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