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

Posts tagged ‘travel’

Wanderlost

It was only a tuesday open mic

When over ciders 

And under stars

I met a girl who knew the words

I meant before I spoke them
It was only just a conversation

I don’t even remember her name but

Her eyes gleamed

And the night spun

In surprise and familiar resonance 
It was only recently I’d returned

From crossing sky to see

Cerros, cities 

Cobble stones and sand

All under & over mountains in the moon
It was only a few minutes

But my ache I saw in her too

The love

That leaves you

In pieces, tucked in each corner of the globe
It was only a tuesday open mic

When under stars

And over ciders 

I realised others love in pieces too

They just get better at living it

Resolution

It’s August. August September October November…time is creeping closer. Diwali is nearing. The time to fly back to India inches it’s way over the horizon and into the periphery of my visible future. 

And I am scared. 

I’ll be flying alone this time. No family, no parents, no grandmother watching my back this time. I’ve flown alone before, but never so unshielded, so without established structure and shelter. And that is thrilling. But…it’s new. Daunting. India is dangerous, especially for an 18 year old, for a white woman. So many bad things could happen. This goes against all the conventions of safety. I don’t even know how well I will be able to cope amid so much unfamiliar, without anyone guiding me. If I’ll even be able to make enough money to afford the full trip. There’s so much uncertainty, trepidation, unfamiliarity and yes fear, of the unknown and quite possibly life threatening. 

But I have to go. 

It’s not a want or a whim or a fleeting dream anymore. This isn’t 2012. This is need, this is the moon calling ocean tides, tugging them closer, dhanyavad, shukriya and nandri being mixed with efcharisto and gracias in my mental responses, to my predominately greek and spanish speaking co-workers. This is the familiarity and trust and joy, established in the three days I had with my friends there, last time, demanding to be built upon. I need to come back, and find familiarity in the sound and sight of friends laughing beside me in person. I need to see the cities they all speak of, the beautiful and the ordinary and the ugly, the reality that created so much that I love. 

And it will be a risk. I am trusting myself to stand alone and strong, beside those who may permit me, in your India. Things can and probably will go wrong. But I have made too many plans to bail now. And I know, I believe with absolute certainty, that it will be worth it. 

In Which I Really Need To Make Travel Plans

There is not enough said
About longing for a new home
For the places you haven’t been to
For the worlds you haven’t known

There is not enough said
About yearning calls over the sea
Life you can so clearly imagine living
If you could only just be free

There is not enough said
When your town is the back of your hand
And you ache to find your other pieces
Buried with hearts in some other land

For when you know the feel of home
In a place every detail strange
There is joy to be found in unfamiliarity
And reassurance in change

And when you find new friends and love
In a world still foreign when you leave
You have to wonder; “Why the fuck did I go?”
“I need more time to live, to breathe;

“To find my rhythm in curiosity
With enough memories made to fill
What’s missing inside me – that exploration
And new discoveries I know surely will.”

For home is where the heart is,
And mine is big enough for the world to share
Now my problem isn’t finding all those places, though
But the monumental task getting there

New World, New Delhi

Messy, dirty, madness. Breathe.
Don’t breathe – cover your mouth, filter the fumes
Ancient carvings, airtel ads, cows and pigs roam wild 
Madness here, seeks to push you out
Who are you and why are you here?
What are you doing here, with your blue eyes and red hair
Every face questions you, follows you
Watch your back, watch your purse
But not always. Too much to see
Flashing by in the gap between flapping plastic
Three wheeled madness on unregulated roads
Too many cars, too many people
Each glimpse a question
A sewing machine being used on the sidewalk?
Rows of shiny kitchen utensils?
Piles of fruit, mysterious street food 
Unfamiliar letters painted along walls
Cricket in abandoned constructions…

You wonder at the people here.
At men wandering the streets – where are they going?
No footpaths or signs that make sense to your eyes
The girls here are mythical
Brightly coloured, draped in textures
Or exactly the same as immigrants back home
Here, you are the immigrant
Here, you are the strange one
In a world scarcely policed.
Too much to do
(Baksheesh ma’am? Chai panee please)

Humanity overflows here
Vultures selling services circle;
Hesitation? They swarm
You escape by the hands of a stranger
Kindness pushes between hands that reach out for what’s not bolted down
Tapping at your window when traffic halts
Weaving between shiny cars and men pulling carts
Pressed between sky scrapers and crumbling constructions
Life here fights, in each tangle of power lines
And the scrawny dogs who still droop with lactating teats

Order surrenders to chaos
Though not entirely, never entirely
You can feel the tide tugging, reaching to drag your feet out from under you
There are pockets though, dusted squares
Of organisation – frustration resulting in mediation
‘This inch of land is predictable!’
Proclaim the planners, the pedantic
While piles of dirt heap at roadsides
Remnants of plans forgotten 

Weeds do not exist here
The vegetation fights in armies, or not at all
Tangling and darkening undeveloped corners
Or sprawling between cement patchwork
Until you stumble across tranquility
Serenity in a room, a garden, a cafe
You almost forget what the car horns mean
Abstract notes become background ambience
Reminding you relentlessly of where you are
Reestablishing life’s motion here
Of hassle and noise and unmarked roadways

Until you stumble across beauty
Delicacy in a colour or shape or smile
Or the taste of hot chai first thing in the morning
Sweetness, like everything here, is potent
You lose track of the days and dates
Only feelings matter, only endeavours
Adventure subverts the ordinary
And turns the simplest of tasks Herculean
And the Herculean tasks reform unrecognisably
Because what else could to expect?
Within the dazzling, befuddling world
Between the drama and the dismal and the drastic
Fluctuating between gorgeous and grotesque
The capital of the country, the city of djinns
Here you are. Welcome

Flight

We’re going to fly.
I know it.
Can you feel it too?
In my heart and my lungs and my throat, I know
That the world is outside waiting

And I am going to soar
See it all
Feel the wind and the salt and the spray
See wide smiling faces rushing past
Everything, everything
It’s all humming and thrumming and thriving with life, out there.

Out there. Somewhere anywhere
I swear I’d be content, just to see
Just to feel that sun on my skin
Reaching out with uncertain hands
Filled with my ideas, bright as bubbles
Wide fingers.
If I grasp tight enough to life, will it take me out to see all of it?

Just get me out of this tiny little pocket.
Get me out of this grotto of idling weather
Where the celestial storms of the swirling, raging, singing planet of people are
Oh people! Give me people
To smile and to hug, to be confused and enthused by
To hate and to bait and to wait by,
To wait for and worry for, to love for but most of all live for

Let me live, that’s all I ask for.
Let me fly and be free, let me roam and truly be
Entrench my toes in foreign sands
Stretch my eyes upon new lands
Lands which eyes like mine have never seen
Only dreamed and wished and longed to know
For the world is far greater than any satellite can show
Each inch of earth not merely there
But like dimensions, folded inwards,
Crumpled papers of time tossed together

The tale of our Earth is told
In leaflets, the greatest book of them all
With each fallen autumn leaf
With the petals of fading flowers
With the multitudes of sea shells washed upon our shores
On every forgotten coastline, our history is written

And
My fingers itch to turn these pages
They seek to trace, the ink that narrates our stories
Leads from then to now to what will be
A sight I refuse to never not see!
For I cannot live but to look
To breathe each breath this new air
Of recycled nitrogens, that once long ago
Bore breaths to even the greatest:
Deep rooted trees in their soil, steady and strong
And wandering wondering thinkers, in their days long lost

But this today is mine, and I claim it
My life stamped with each beating pulse
Onwards, forwards, backwards and sideways
Slipping between the souls of others
Lingering on the beauty in each fragment I see
For what else can we become?
But refractors, absorbers, reflectors
Putting piece by piece of ourselves together
With each piece and puzzle we find from each other

And by everything that was ever holy, my pieces are scattered like the stars!

Home

The sun was only just beginning to rise when I awoke. I rolled over onto my side and blinked blearily out the van window, wondering where we’d arrived this morning. Ruyard had promised he’d gt all of us somewhere where we could all be safe, but after 5 days on the road, even Margaret, the most trusting of all out family (or, what was left of it) was beginning to ask questions.

There were no questions now. My breath caught in my throat as the early morning rays touched the tops of trees and the edge of green hillsides, bathing everything my eye could see in a whispered warmth and promise underlying this land.

This was going to be our home now. I could feel it in the thrumming of my heart, the soul of this place resonating within me a deep, wordless song of welcome. Welcome home, the sky seems to be singing, as it changed from pearl grey to lilac to peach. Welcome home, whispered the hills, as fog wrapped itself tenderly around its green feet.

As the day slowly awoke, so did my sisters, and I watched as each of them saw the vista that awaited us, as I saw the tension, the stress, the fear and the worry fall off their shoulders. And the new dawn tinged the edges of our hair golden and warmed our pale skin in the welcoming caress of a place we knew, from now till the end of our days, would be where we could belong. Where we could be safe, be happy, be free – where we would be Home.

 

This was a response to a prompt I saw on tumblr, (x) so the image isn’t mine. Now that my exams are almost over, I think I’ll finally have the brainspace free to be able to write again. And with my impending trips overseas, I’m sure there’ll be no shortage of subject matter. After years of essays and corrections and structures, it’s prompts like these that really allow for creativity and expression to realy flourish – no pressure, no expectations, no time frame. Just an idea. And just (as well) a few songs, twirling idly around my head, like the refrain of a calliope, only just within earshot. You know it, you feel it, but it doesn’t…blare, or anything like that. Welcome Home by Radical Face, and Home by Phillip Phillips were the ones I was thinking of, can you guess why? 😛

It’s funny, so much of me is defined by my desire to get out, to fly and see everything there is to see in the world – but on the other hand, I think I’m beginning to see the importance of having a consolidated home. Home is…sanctuary and security and roots and a roof above your head that you can count on – and most importantly, filled with the people I love. But I’ve already traversed too much of the world to love people in only one place. And I’m far from finished, as far as traversing goes 😉
So I guess…we shall let time, the smoother of stones and the harbringer of everything’s end – and every new beginning – to show, and to tell, what will ultimately be.

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.