If you so much as stood on an airplane 50 years ago, you’d probably made it in some way. You could afford the luxury of air travel and that meant something. You had status. But for most, travel was a fantasy – something that people did in books or the National Geographic.
I’m eating dinner when the thought occurs to me that somewhere in the world another person is dying of hunger. Soon I’m overcome with guilt.
Most often I try to push these thoughts from my mind. Those people dying of hunger are so far away that we’re disconnected. The fact I’m eating dinner has nothing to do with the fact they don’t have any. It’s not my fault and there’s nothing I can do.
After a few weeks in a country, the food starts to seem a little less tasty, the land a little less mysterious. We would be comfortable sitting by a pool all day reading a book, letting the rest of our time slip away into idleness. But our comfort is tinged with guilt.
To travel long-term you must leave your friends behind. You must face the knowledge that life goes on without you. That time doesn’t stop with your absence, that you aren’t the centre of the universe after all. Continue reading Travel and Friendships→
Seven or so years ago, I was at university and severely depressed. I could barely peel myself out of bed in the morning, I didn’t have the energy for anything. Going to the kitchen to make breakfast was like climbing a mountain, so most days I didn’t bother. It was easier to starve. Eventually, the hunger would become too painful and only then would I stumble to make a sandwich. I was completely unmotivated.
Around four years ago today, I was sitting in an office, staring out the window, dreaming of travel. I’d finished university a few years earlier and instead of continuing to chase my passions, I had stayed put. I was trapped like a deer in the headlights of life. Paralysed and unable to do anything.
If I had to describe myself with a word, it would be, “Meh.” A word for somebody with passion, “Woohoo!” I think of them running through life. A person full of energy, grabbing the world with both hands and shaking it.
Travel, eventually, turns everybody into an insufferable prick. Maybe at home you are the most level-headed person in the world without the tiniest shred of pretension. But spend a long enough time away and it will happen. You will turn into one of those people. You know the type I’m talking about. The people who “find themselves.”