Why I Travel (this time)

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“Go and reconquer your kingdom, which has become corrupted by routine. Find out what you have left unfinished and complete the task. God will guide you because everything you have ever experienced or will experience is in the here and now. The world is being created and destroyed in this very moment. Don’t betray the grace that was bestowed upon you. Understand what is going on inside of you and you will understand what is going on inside of everyone else.” Paulo Cohelo.

Why I travel (this time).

‘What you are looking for is you.’ In my dream he said it twice. My father. So many people said to me “I hope you find what your looking for” when they said goodbye. But I already know what I’m looking for and I know I am travelling again to find her.

I am not lost, nor am I broken. My life is beautiful. I am loved, I love. So much so, that this time I began to wonder why I was making such a grand gesture again. Uprooting and such. I caught myself in the spin of ‘be grateful for what you have’ which became even more exaggerated by a terribly turbulent flight in which my whole being awakened to the fragility of life in the midst of adventure.

But then I remembered.

I travel on the waves of overflow so I can really live. So I can learn again how to say goodbye and how to really say hello. So I can touch my real inner life, unfettered by routine and familiarity. So I can remember that in my real life I am alone as we all are and be exhilarated by it instead of dragged through the worldly mire of sadness because of it. Cos the person that I am in the world has no relevance to this strange and unfamiliar road, and the me that I draw on here is known to no one, least of all myself. Cos God is closer to me here. I have lately begun to feel my relationship to the divine recede in the face of worldly responsibilities and was troubled that I appeared to have stagnated on that journey. And yet it comes to me so soon, mere hours after leaving, the reason why. Because I have not really been living!

I am reminded of the stages of our lives and the stages of our travelling by the woman next to me on the flight. Amidst my excitement and dreams of pilgrimage and Paris, she is flying back to home in London to visit her dying mother. She leans into my excitement though her face which might be a generation older that mine, promises that there are other stages of life and travel that I still have ahead of me. I remember too the travel of my 20’s, the last time I ventured beyond the safe confines of a life for so long, and how it seemed so devastatingly necessary in the wake of the loss of my first great love and the realisation that most of us inevitably encounter around that time, that we are truly alone in this world and must make our own way in it, for no one, not even the most devoted lover, can live it for you. My romantic soul poured itself into travel like an alcoholic to whiskey and drank in as many experiences I could find to soak up the sadness.

But now I am here somewhere in the middle of my life again touching adventure as the antidote to routine and already I can feel how much I’ve changed. I cannot conjure the same romantic response, so much conditioning has been abandoned now that life can not break my heart in the way it once did. But it has been replaced by a freedom that is exhilarating. I simply don’t have the same fears about what people might think of me. In my 40’s life is not to be lived someday when I have more confidence or I’m married with children or when somebody loves me; the rehearsals are over, the show is on. I am here. Now.

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