And so we watch and so we learn/With eyes wide for our dreams to yearn

Posts tagged ‘soul’

Travel: It Changes You

You know when people ask you how something has changed your life? And expect a nice, 100 word answer? Hehe, sometimes it isn’t so simple 😛
Because the thing that people don’t realize is,  is the fact that travelling has been one of the defining elements of my entire life. Literally, I had crossed 2 continents before I’d reached my second birthday. The first few years of a child’s life massively influences them in every way, studies have proven it. Babies imprint on people, things and places, whether they remember or not. My feelings towards a Russian refugee who helped my parents with me during the first 6 months of my life are inexplicably deep, tenderness to that only a handful of my blood family share. In the way some kids grew up in a city or rural town with their close family, I grew up with misadventures across Hong Kong and China, St Petersburg and Amsterdam, Turkey and Portugal.

Winter in Edinburg Scottish Highlands Loch Ness Edinburgh Castle

Kids start primary school with a few friends from the neighborhood, I began feeling foreign and strange, missing my best friend from Edinburgh. In the way the old folks have kick-knacks on shelves that “No, don’t touch that, it’s fragile” we have Zambian wooden carvings, Russian dolls, Indian drums and Moroccan cushions. It was much as part of our family as religion is to others’. Just as my family settled down, and Time in Oz > Time Overseas, and our world shrank to ours and the neighboring state and travelling became a distant dream, we took off for 2 months in Indonesia. My sister and I, who barely remembered more than lingering fragmented memories of Before, truly discovered budget travelling with a backpack. It completely opened our eyes, our conscious minds, to how wonderfully easy it all was, to catch a plane or a boat or a bus to wherever your finger landed on a map. Especially if you took the cheapest option and paid attention when the locals started haggling. Not only was this incredible adventure more economical, it was more real. We learnt the language and met people and went to the least-visited tourist sights. I think it had the most effect on my littlest sister, who was 3 the first time, 6 the second. We made sure to show her, when we flew over the coast of Darwin, to explain how we weren’t in Australia anymore, and she took to it all like a duck to water. Watching your country fade by, with the scuttle of clouds under sky more impossibly blue than you’ve ever seen before…it gives you a profound message of exactly how small the world really is, how easy it is to find your place in a brand new city with fragmented communication – smelling and hearing and seeing things more vividly than you thought possible. Your senses go into overdrive when you travel, you learn to drop ingrained expectations and habits, to adapt to new (or less) road rules, to manners and reactions in everyday interactions, to savor everything that is new, different or even slightly the same.

Kid by the Boats Lush Greenery at 70 km/h Classic Architecture in Bali
And this is doubly the case when one travels by oneself to the other side of the world. To be completely alone, and completely free, in a completely alien environment…it is one of the most incredible and indescribable life changing experiences. When everything, down to the weeds in the cracked pavement, the direction of traffic, the language on the tv’s, the clothes, the music, the buildings and the weather are utterly brand new, the metaphor of soaking things in on a wonderful family holiday is akin to playing in the rock pools and then being swept out to the ocean in a storm. You see so much, you don’t have time to absorb a fraction of what you’re hearing, everything that was your bedrock of support – lost at sea. It’s a psychological onslaught combined with an ecstatic sensory input. The textiles and aromas from crafts that are a blend of Incan and European worlds, ocean, sierra, rainforest and desert climates – waterfalls and glaciers that went thousands of meters in every direction.

Living with teenagers who only knew a tiny square of the universe, so small and yet so rich with heritage and history, showing clearly in their eyes and their blood. And then there were others, explorers like myself, who understood the joy of flight and the thrill of travel – and bonding with them, sharing our adventures with like-minded spirits, together from so many places in a moment of coincidence. It was 12 months of magic, 2012; a Balinese Christmas and a germanic Argentine Easter, India on the phone and Bolivia across the river, where I never stayed in the same place for more than 8 weeks solid, travelling from almost the Antarctic circle to within the tropic of Capricorn…and when I went home, my world shrank to a 50 km radius. Ire turned back to my secure family, friends who had never left the city and going to the beach 15 minutes away a special occasion.
Skyline of my beloved Cordoba The Igazu Falls. Sheer awe-inspiring magnificence. 300 year old remnants of spanish missionaries Buenos Aires at night Bariloche, in the foothills of the Andes Los Caballeros celebrating in the Intersection La Boca, Buenos Aires The Puerto Marino Glacier, in all it's icy glory Northern Markets in the Hills of Salta Guitarists that we were, in a cross-cultural group session

When you travel, you are bombarded by the majesty of the chaotic life on earth, until you learn to adjust your sails and navigate the winds of the universe. Your mind expands more, than you ever thought possible, to span oceans and languages and cultures – you see how much more there is to the world. How much more there is to living.

Restlessness

To run, to fly, far away
To seek it out, another day
To drop this idle stillness dead
To flee its ever growing dread
For I am not a tree of stone
I grow not roots, I only roam
Escaping darkness and the pain
Wash it away in foreign rain

I never know what cometh yet
Wide-eyed I watch, in a way forget
Living in the speedy life
Of things to come, avoiding strife
Avoiding bonds that break & bend
Attachments that hurt /you/ when they end
From it I run, seek fresher air 
It cannot hurt me if I don’t care

And so I dance in days to come
Escaping the terrible tedium
I daren’t reflect, for suffering
And tearing pain my heart tugging
Will drag me down to a level more
Mundane; feet on a dirty floor
Who could abide such stagnant air?
When whole worlds await out there?

Run forever and run some more
Never look back at what was before
Until the scars have faded to be
A little more than memory
The little box of regret will grow
What’s done is done, and on we go
To find a something new to face
To run from life, ‘cross time and space

Dreaming

It’s easy to forget, sometimes. My world, that is. The rooms around me feel so arbitrary, a safe house, a still point in time – a place of dormancy between journeys, where nothing truly remarkable happens. It is merely a space that can be relied on, for its simple existence. Home, the shell which holds us, a location of healing and preparing, of resting…and waiting.

Still ’round the corner there may wait/ A new road or secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by/ 
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run/ 
West of the Moon, East of the Sun

It’s easy to lose your sense of presence here, because how could you focus on the stillness when you know what is happening?
Babies are being born and old grandmothers are speaking fierce words to their loved ones – people are risking their lives to save those who cannot save themselves, young ones are learning, expanding their minds, dreamers are dreaming, adventurers are adventuring, people are dancing, writing music, poems, inventing and discovering, crossing uncharted rainforests, taking specimens from the floor of a volcano, looking for life on the bottom of the ocean – a million languages are being spoken, a thousand cultures are breathing…

I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again – cross the sky and seek out the Great Perhaps. One day I’m going to as free as a migratory african swallow, and I will see it all. One day I will cross the oceans, arrive at places I have only been able to dream of. One day I will shoulder everything I need to live, chase the setting sun and find new worlds. One day I will stand on top of a mountain, dance on foreign shores, look upon the face of the raw wilderness in the animal kingdom, sing exultantly under blue skies that stretch to every horizon. One day I will turn around, take a breath and say “Hello Danielle”. One day I will look on the emotive faces of those I have never known truly before. One day the future will be the present, and everything will fall into place. One day I will chase away the scattered cobwebs that stretch over my mind in the idleness of everyday life, and I shall know every inch of this beautiful, marvelous, impossible world.

But until then…I am 16 and bound to the life of school and suburbia. Until then, I study and I help my mother with chores. Until these days come, 16 months – 508 days must pass, in the sanctuary that holds me here, binds me to this small small pocket of the universe. It will be, it must be, one day I know what I will be. But for now…I am here.

Time and Space

22 months. Not so long, and yet ages and eons and more. Lifetimes will pass, until the tomorrow when It happens. I know it will – because it must. The dream that I hold onto when the relentless wearing of school tires me, I’ve envisioned it so clearly its as if I could reach out and fall into it, as if it was only a small piece of time and not at all space that was my barrier from it. As if it would be the easiest thing in the world, to drive to the airport and catch a plane, to watch my country slip away from a window at 40,000 ft. To escape my world for the thrill of another, to land somewhere so wonderfully alien and wild, the source of all my dreams; India. Oh india! I can almost feel it, the heat and the smells and the sounds, the crowds of people and the hum of irrepressible life! No matter how wild or chaotic, my face would stretch to a grin that would split my face, my eyes huge as I try to take it all in. Forget your home, forget the tidy suburbs where you grew up in, embrace the universe and get swept away in its magnificence! It’s all there, I can feel it calling to me, reaching and tugging me, soul first, body second. 😀

First stop; the airport. The heat hits you as soon as you step off the plane. The rest is quick to follow, a tidal wave of noise and movement. Crowds of black headed men, colourfully draped women – dark eyes, teeth and tongues busy to add to the conglomeration of voices, noises, music, the ocean of languages and accents foreign to my ears. The signs pasted on the the walls, the floor a maze of busy feet, a jungle I must wade through and fight to find my own way. I could, would – and will!

And then, I’d see him (or her). Either at the terminal or outside, at an address or outside somewhere. In the sea of a strange new world, I’d see a familiar face, one I knew as well as any of my family, and yet never have seen a day in my life. They’d be there, right there!- after years of Skype and whatsapp, messages on Facebook, flung across the Internet and through the world of cyberspace. But not anymore, not when they’re living and breathing… I’d made it, I’d really made it, they were right there in front of me. Heart racing nerves, thrilled adrenaline, excitement, joy, giddy glee, all bubbling out of me – I know it will be, because it already is just thinking about it! I’d call out their name, watching their face, recognising me, oh, to bowl them over in a hug, or to handshake formally and pompously – eyes shining either way – meeting for the first time, and yet knowing each other already, so much.

It’s so far away but it’s the most amazing thing, that I physically cannot wait for. To go to The Most exotic and amazing country in the world is a dream in itself, but to be in such a world, with people I know and love, friends to whom this world belongs! To hear and see him laugh, to watch her draw it right in front of me, to actually be there, know them, know their world! To go somewhere new is always daunting, but – can you imagine? I’d be like Ariel when she got her legs, asking endless questions about the silliest of things, trying it all, reacting to them, and have someone to laugh with me and show me something more! It seems impossible, sometimes, to imagine existing somewhere that’s so different, and yet I know people who do, who can teach me! What an adventure it would be, to get to know people, friends, and worlds, that have existed only on the screen of my mind for far too long. People I will one day reach out and touch, play guitar with, sing with, fuss over and laugh over, grin and hug and talk and run with, through the marvellous today that hasn’t come yet.

You and me, time and space. Oh, you watch us run.