It’s been a while since I travelled anywhere but the other day I realised this: even if you’re staying put – at the desk, staring at a blank wall, wondering why in the world you are even walking the face of the earth – even then, you are still travelling.
And yes, I know what you are thinking, “this is the part where the pretentious millennial delves into how life is a journey and then alludes to nomads and the ephemeral nature of life”. Now now, don’t get too judgemental, because I read minds. That is somewhat what I wanted to say, but not exactly.
Life Is About Travelling
The allusion to nomads is quite romantic but that’s not an accurate representation of everyone’s journey. I like to think that the high-flyers amongst us are private-jet type travellers (partly because some of them really do travel by private jet), and many of us travel by car, or perhaps by Uber.
As for me, I think I’m among the group that travels by the bus or something – sometimes envious of those journeying life like they were in a BMW on an expressway, but still thankful that at least there’s enough value in my EZ-Link card so I don’t have to walk under the hot sun.
Yes, I genuinely believe that every moment on this planet we call earth, we are travelling towards something. And so, I started a now-defunt blog named “rucksacking for” because I was hopeful that by journaling my thoughts, I could find out what was The Point Of It All. It didn’t take me long to realise that I wasn’t going to “find myself”, which was why the blog is now-defunct.
Travelling Will Never Give You Answers
I would love to believe that by jotting down my experiences through travelling, I will be able to find out The Meaning Of Life. But honestly, I don’t think that’s going to happen. I still don’t know exactly where I am headed to, although I have an ominous feeling that the final destination would be my grave. It’s pretty liberating to think of ourselves as travellers – like nomads, gypsies and the free people. But when you combine that with the final destination of death, everything seems quite sad and pathetic.
You would think that someone who wants to write about her travels would be extremely passionate about life, and making the most out of her experiences. I am passionate about life, although sometimes I am passionately in love with it and other times I passionately believe that it is a pain in the ass (as painful as the time I spent 5 hours on a dodgy lorry and a squeezy little bus in Myanmar. My ass sure hurt that time). As for making the most out of my experiences, I try my best. Although I don’t think that it is always healthy to force a beautiful rosy picture out of the sucky things you experience or think about (death, in particular, is pretty sucky).
The point is, travelling won’t alter your final destination. Although it could add to your experiences and give you beautiful memories to revisit, chances are, it’s never going to give you a clarity of why you walk the face of the earth.
It’s Okay To Have No Answers
So if everything is bleak and sad, why do I still bother using the meagre amount of money I have and spend it on travelling – on places I will unlikely visit again, on a couple of souvenirs and perhaps some hazy memories?
Well, I like to think of travelling as a microcosm of life. We are always on the move, from point A to B, from phase to phase, from stage to stage and that makes all of us travellers even when we’re not on a holiday. Travelling doesn’t necessarily give you answers to your purpose on this planet but it does help you do life a little better.
You see places in the flesh for one. For another, you meet people you wouldn’t have met otherwise. You see different realities that sometimes inspire you and sometimes break your heart. Most of the time, I am reminded of my place in this big big world (I’m probably the size of a spec), and it also helps me learn to be okay with leaving, bidding farewell to a place I just got to know and love.
Travelling Can Embolden A Person
Travelling will never give me greater existential meaning or clarity but it sure made me a braver person. Since I am a broke, underpaid graduate who is eager to try anything I stumble upon, my holidays are often uncomfortable and quite far from luxurious. My friends and I often travel by public transport and sometimes we make do and stay in dodgy places.
Being scared in a foreign place, having a language barrier, trying to navigate in a strange place isn’t a new experience. After a while, I learn to be okay with not always knowing where I’m going, and to be okay with feeling a little out of place. Overcoming these little challenges, and being okay with making mistakes really help you have a better outlook, especially when you stumble into the reality of adulthood. It’s okay to not have it all together, it’s okay to want to try something new, and it’s okay when things don’t turn out as planned. If anything, stumbling into different places and trying to make do with not so ideal situations when I’m travelling gave me a braver outlook on day-to-day life.
You’re Just Passing Through, Remember That
And lastly, quite simply, travelling reminds me that I am a traveller who will one day vanish from the face of this earth. It’s okay to leave, it’s okay to not do something big and great and recognisable. It’s okay to not know what I’m doing. And since my time on earth is short and temporal, I guess “We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
So I, the person who is travelling through life on a public bus, with just enough value left in my EZ-Link card will find a way to do what I love even if it’s scary and frustrating. Sometimes I would want to give up, but hopefully, I’ll pull through.