What is your first thought when your phone rings post midnight? Panic? Anxiety?
What I felt was quite literally, “Not again please.”
I picked up the phone to hear my drunk friend say, “Hey! I’m travelling again. You’ll know I’ve reached when Germany loses World War II and Wednesday comes before Tuesday!” This was that friend of mine who had a weird obsession. We all have ‘that’ friend. Somebody obsessed with dinosaurs or volcanoes or as my case, time travel. I said ‘happy journey’ and hung up the phone. And as my reader, you’ll know by now, every peculiar conversation gets me thinking. The-lie-in-bed-all-night-staring-at-the-ceiling-fan-type-of-thinking.
The story of the time machine came out somewhere in 1985, so it’s pretty obvious that for generations now, people have been wanting to go backward and forward. The undo-redo, rewind-forward, erase-rewrite are all just double checking mechanisms invented by us so we can tread carefully. But why? Why are we always going back and forth?
When you think about it, none of us can actually just stay stagnant. Most people might disagree, considering how their life might have been in the same place for decades. But there definitely is a time in everyone’s life, where the idea of travel is exciting.
Some travel to take a break, some in search of adventure. Some travel to get over love, some travel to find it. Some travel to get lost, some to find their way. Some travel for peace and quiet , and some to drown in the noise of a new place.
And then, we come back home. Because we just have to go back and forth. I’d met a man once, somebody who’d been hiking for nearly forty years. He used to be an engineer in his day. When asked about this, he simply said, “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.”
That’s when I first realised, we can only keep moving ahead in life when we have nothing to return to. As nomadic as this sounds, when you know there is nothing to look back at, all you can do is look ahead. I’ve heard a lot of people advocate on having a ‘plan B’ in life. I’m a victim of the ‘plan B’ ritual too. And you know what’s been happening ever since I got myself a plan B? My plan A is suffering.
When the horizon shines so bright in front of you, why do you want to reserve a shady two by two? When you’re in your twenties, which possibly is the most important decade of your life, you can’t think of averages. You can’t think of settling. All you can do is take away memories, and leave behind footprints.
When you’ve had dinner on the Eiffel tower and cycled in Amsterdam, when you’ve danced like no one’s watching, when you’ve loved so much it hurt, and when you jumped to try to touch the sky, that’s when you think of settling. And it’s okay to unpack once in a while. Just don’t unpack and sit there forever. Because the rules of travel teach us to never give up. To travel is to know,
It takes longer to get there, than to get back.