Thursday, 22 August 2013

Why I Travel?

                                          From Vacation 2012Corals at the bottom of Ko Tao

To Escape.
But that sounds far too simplistic. Even though there are times when the blackened grime of cities and memories has seeped far too deep into your pores and only salt water will clean it out. Could it be for the time? You know the clock works differently when you're away. Days are languid, slow and almost sloth-like. You can keep 2pm on your tongue for as long as you like and when you're done, it will softly give way to a cocktail called 6pm. Shadows tell stories and the passing of time. Do the people living here realize that clock works differently in their city?
You'd almost gotten up to ask, realizing at the last minute that it's only when you're on vacation that you're not pre-occupied with answers. Or perhaps the questions have transformed into completely new ones.

To Taste. 
The food, or the cold, colorful drink traveling into your mouth. Flavours are muted and amplified at the same time. You felt like you never tasted food before, and yet on vacation you rarely overeat. When you're in the city and encounter a delicious meal you will chase it with the zeal of a crazed person and then realize you ate too much, too fast and all you're left with is a stomach ache. The same could be said of love found on vacation and the one you left back home.

To observe. 
How light is writing its own secret message in freckles on your brown skin. Or the big, vast sky that wears every colour so well, but personally burnt orange around 6pm is its favourite. It walks out in this dress and preens in front of you. You never pay much attention so it goes right back to grown-up indigo for the night.
Whole and parts co-exist in a beautiful, symbiotic chorus and you think you can too. Bits of you charred by work and love can live against bits of you too big for the universe and your own dreams to support.

To lose. 
Earrings. I always start out with a pair and return home with one. Inhibitions, prejudices and constructs of self fall softly against gravel, sand and cobbled pavements. It seems to me that vacations and cities you travel to contain a Lost and Found box. Visitors are free to deposit questions, wishes, memories and feelings which don't serve them anymore. Other particularly adventurous visitors pick up deposits by others and make them their own. By the beach, between the grains of sand if you look really carefully you'll find bits of sadness and questions. If you press a sea-shell to your ear it's not the waves you hear but a crescendo of unfinished conversations. Speak back into the sea-shell, there are things you never said which need to be lost too.

To go back home. 
Because belonging was never tied to a person or a place, it was just a feeling you carried in the recesses of your sometimes mangled heart. This belonging would crawl out, often when you're sea side and sit lotus-style inside your chest. Your breaths may not be as ragged and urgent as they are in the city you call home. Sometimes, when you're traveling you even forget to breathe and that's a good thing.

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