Thursday, November 4, 2010
We travel to lose ourselves, and to find ourselves. Travel affords us the opportunity to disappear from reality, forget about life for a while, and to lose ourselves in the moment. A new identity, a new reality, far from home, far from friends, far from family, its easy to disappear into the crowd. This temporary freedom lets us explore new and innovative identities as we glide through this existence. Is there no better feeling than that of being free on the open road, no ties, no responsibility, no identity. Yet, as we get drunk on this sense of freedom, we forget who we really are, and herein sits the dual nature of the travel. It is easy to get lost, but much more difficult to find ourselves. The open road is addictive, like a sweet drug, we are seduced into a sense comfort. Travel helps us see our reflection, but our reflection is not who we really are.
Life is all about balance, and we need to strive to maintain that. Distraction is everywhere, luring us from our true purpose, and travel provides us great opportunity to explore without ourselves. Yet, if we never get to question who we are, we probably never even wonder, just drone along, “living” a life that we do not understand. Travel lets us escape ourselves enough to get a glimpse of ourselves from the outside, a view that reveals so much. As we lose “our self” we begin to see what we really are. We all carry stories about who we are, who our families are, but do we ever question what we are really doing? Much is said about leaving the nest, looking for a new way, a new identity, but what are we really searching for? As we get further and further from home, we begin to loosen the shackles of our fixed worldview, and we begin to see what is truly out there. If we never leave the nest, we never even know there is a nest to leave, but as we get further and further away from our nest, we realize that the nest is really where we belong. We have to leave the nest to see, but as we do, we realize that everything we need was in the nest in the first place. We need to leave in order to see that we already have everything. That is the nature of our predicament.
Travel is a great tool in this effort. As we travel further and further from what we are comfortable with, we suddenly find ourselves looking in from the outside, wondering why we are so far from home. Lose yourself in the moment, but do not lose yourself. That is the balance, the neutrality, and the essence of this place. Every time you lose yourself, feel free, feel lost, feel empty, try to find yourself in there, the same self you came with, and the same self you will leave with. Then, you will glimpse the nature of this place; the illusion that time and place change us and speed us on our way. We alone choose these paths, yet we alone are the only ones walking them.