“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”
This will hurt as well but in time you will form your calluses. And it will get easier.
There was a pressing need to have my life figured out- to know what I want to do after I graduate, to find a job, to have a house and to start a family. This pressing need to know and to settle all these things have acted as a catalyst to deciding on a life plan for myself: I would finish my bachelor’s degree, work to save enough money for a masters then find a job and then settle down.
What I’ve realised recently- with innumerable reminders from different people nonetheless- is that there is no hurry to have everything figured and planned out now. That try as we might, we can plan all that we want but things may not go as planned.
I am now starting to actually see that we have the years stretched out in front of us, that there is not yet an urgent rush to settle everything nor to settle down. And after all the fretting and planning, I am learning to live and to live now.
Amidst those whose heads are bobbing in the water, I see this one person standing straight and tall out from the water, rising above the rest and facing me. In an ideal case scenario, he would be holding my gaze and it will be strong and steady. But in this vision, his gaze strays and it is somewhat distracted, somewhat uncommitted.
I can already see my brainlings- my brain cells personified- forming two camps, taking sides. One side points out that he is standing above the rest and replays the first “2.5 hour of wonderful conversation and romantic date” and the subsequent precious time spent together. The other side reminds me to not throw caution to the wind as I have been known to do. To be prudent and careful and very discerning.
The distraction and lack of commitment are very understandable and relatable because I share those feelings also. Because when we think clearly about feasibility, circumstances and location, none are in our favour. If one only takes calculated risks- and ones does-, one would not take this risk.
Sometimes differences come in cracks and obvious disparities that glare at you. Other times they come in the form of chasms and perhaps a saving factor about this is that the chasm possibly has a bridge that connects the two otherwise separated sides.
But the bridge is sometimes old and rickety, not promising to hold up any weight or steps. Any step taken on the bridge then has to be well- calculated and as I was recently told, we do not take risks that are not well calculated because that would be unwise, even silly.
It has recently been a recurring thought in my mind that apart from the obvious attractions and advantages of travelling, it also teaches- or forces- me to learn to be better at letting go of people and things. I have always suffered from the worst case of inability to let go of people, memories, and things, becoming so attached to them that when the inevitable time of separation arrives, it hurts unimaginably.
The meeting of new people, the forming of what would be precious friendships, and the making of the loveliest memories with them in new places, I now see as opportunities for me to learn to have these people and then to let them go when it is time to leave. To let go of the people and places because we will never be the same again, never experience the same memories again.
But when my last travel has ended only so recently, the indelible loss is still so raw and the absence of the people still so palpable. (But this is only to be expected because we spent a relatively significant amount of time together, right?)
It has to hurt for it to get better though, and travelling perpetuates this cycle, but only for the better. Because there has to come a time when I get more used to this process and it will start to hurt less. I will learn to no longer hold onto people and things with a palm that is so often tightly clasped, but with a more open one, with no expectations nor demands- to let them go when they have to because they will have to. And perhaps, when it all comes down to it, all that I can hold onto are the memories that we have forged together because these memories are the ones that last. And these, I think, have to be enough.
Ich vermisse die Heiterkeit und die Ruhe schon sehr viel. Es tut mir weh weil ich noch nicht genug von ihm hab.
Kuta, Lombok (June 2017)