I can do very little now but to take a leap of faith, exiting the realm of this adventure with less answers that I had hoped for, but a great many more experiences than I had ever dreamed of
This is it.
This is it, this is it, this is it.
Just a few days back I was leaving Tupiza, Bolivia. I jumped to the back of a minivan and asked the driver was there a buckle for the seat belt. He looked around quickly and showed me that yes, there was, only it was under the seat cover and couldn’t be accessed. “Pero tranquilo” -did he say to reassure me. I thought “sure.” I thought “let us die in a car accident no big deal, so long as the seats are pretty.” And yet, at the same time it occurred to me that soon, I will be back home where everything is over-regulated. Where at every corner awaits someone to tell you what to do and how.
I will soon be back with no more granadillas, no more exotic food or people. No more hostels or comidas, for worse and sometimes for better. No more lamas and volcanos. No Khmer temples or lost city. No more waking up wondering “what of today?” Simply no more of this journey, and if one's life shall always offer a part of unknown anyway, surely it won’t be in the same measure.
It would be a lie to claim I dread this return, for as much as I belong to this adventure, and it belongs to me, I have reached the end of this particular road. The time has come to move on to something different, to reclaim some sense of home and continue my walk on this path called ‘life’, destination unknown and quest of purpose.
The King of Spades is not dead, or at least I don’t think he is. But there’s an open secret to this journey, don’t you see? Of the deck, the King of Spades is the explorer, yes. But who’s to say his exploring has ever been solely about new lands? What if it was different lives he was exploring? What if it was opportunities and experiences?
I can do very little now but to take a leap of faith, exiting the realm of this adventure with less answers that I had hoped for, but a great many more experiences than I had ever dreamed of. I was clueless when I took a flight to the south of India, I realize now. I was simply clueless. And as much as I remain clueless when it comes to a fair few of the questions I was asking myself at the time, now I am ever so slightly world-savvier.
Too bad for the questions really, though I suspect one thing: I had the most important answer all along. That not all questions have an answer, simply, and especially not the types I charged into my backpack last year. All I am sure of is I am far from alone in trying to make sense of this world, and that we all are doing the best we can in coping, in thriving.
And how about the fair few travellers I have met who shared in the same struggle, heh? All the Kings and Queens of Spades disheartened with the lifestyle they have been molded for? The desk-life job, the lack (or absence) of purpose, the senseless material chase… Go ahead and argue millennials are a lost generation if you will. I for one fiercely believe: the world truly is changing.
What can I tell you now? What is there left to be said except the obvious? Travel, my friend. Travel long and far. Reach corners of the world you never thought you’d go. Meet long overdue friends and lovers. Embrace the gifts and struggles just the same. Embrace it all. And seek no destination but newer views of the world. Fairer views of the world.
I leave you with the one humble truth I could possibly have to offer, that traveling really is the school of life. It will teach you more than any of the most prestigious schools in the world. Simply because, for each little new thing you find in nature, for each new people and culture you come across, you are learning about yourself. Perhaps all that this year of travelling has taught me really boils down to one simple thing: that the whole world is but one tiny corner in which you stand, dumbfounded. This corner is where you belong but no more than someone else. No less either. And so I ask you one thing. When someone foreign comes into your land, see them for what they have to teach you. Ask yourself if you have given them enough of a chance.
"The more I traveled," said Shirley MacLaine, "the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends."