“This is such a cold town,” I said to my mother, in between blowing my nose. But it took me a while to learn their reaction wasn’t a sign of disrespect or indifference, not the way I took it anyway. New Yorkers are unshockable, it’s true, but they also know that no one gets private space, and the best they can do is to leave you alone and at least pretend you have privacy, even if the crowded sidewalk affords you none. When I see someone in tears on the sidewalk, my instinct is not to rush over and help them—what would I do, anyway?—it is to offer them the dignity of not staring.”
For years growing up, all I remember saying I wanted to do was travel. I had this image in my mind of backpacking through hostels in Europe, traipsing about in the Amazon and long, dusty road trips into the sunset…but knew that would never really happen, because that wasn’t part of the “plan” – I had school, university, a career to get onto…
Sometimes when you get what you have been working towards for a long time, you don’t realise you are there until it is over. Sometimes you realise half way through…and if you are lucky enough to do that, never forget to stop and enjoy it.
I realised in a conversation a little while ago that my dream of travelling frequently and often had been granted, Alhamdulilah. The penny hadn’t fully dropped yet, but taking a step back and appreciating the larger picture was what I was missing. It was happening; perhaps not in the way I had imagined, but in a way that was equally enriching, exciting and intriguing.
What have I learned? Ach, I ask this of others but don’t ask myself this question enough. What I do know, right now, lying on a bed in a room that alternates between freezing and boiling (because hotels don’t like open windows?!) is that at the end of the day, you rely on yourself and whatever (or whoever) you believe in.
You have to decide what is important to you and base all your decisions around that – if you have your priorities straight and truly believe in them, then decisions are easy. Just join the dots.
Loneliness is a frame of mind… but it is always nice to have someone to come home and tell stories to, even if it is a fish or an uninterested sibling.
Pack light (easier said than done) because you will definitely go shopping (or maybe that’s just me?).
You are no where near as important or significant as you think you are. There are billions of people in this world, and travelling, in whatever capacity, opens your eyes to what is out there…if you are willing to let it.
That doesn’t mean that your life, my life or anyone’s life isn’t important in itself per se, but the world doesn’t revolve around us…and that is okay.
YOUR world revolves around you, but your world isn’t everyone else’s world.
What a penny to drop! That is honestly, more like a pound… but once I realised that, I began to appreciate how exciting life really is.
How every person you meet is an insight into a totally different way of thinking, a totally different life perspective, a totally different paradigm…and totally different world.
How is that not exciting? It simply…*is*. It means every single person you or I ever have the fortune to meet has their own story… and you have been given the gift of interaction, so why not find out what their story is?
After all, some of the most profound lessons I have learnt are from random interactions with people I only met once… and never seen again. A chance interaction with another world.
I won’t ever be able to experience everything there is to experience in the world. However travelling a little myself, and travelling a little through the eyes and minds of others…well, that is a start for now.