I just happen (amidst much circumstance) to live on a small island some call paradise, while I call home. Many blow thousands of their savings to visit my ‘home’, and marvel at the white sandy beaches and culture and native people. I for the most part see a small dirty island that’s too damned hot.
These conflicting ideas of a single place have brought about my current trail of thought on traveling. I’ve always wondered about what it would be like to visit all these places that only exist for me in books and on the internet. And when a friend returns from one of these places, I eagerly ask ‘how was it?’, only to be met more or less with a ‘it’s really dirty/too clean’, ‘its way overcrowded’, ‘the place smells of shit’, ‘too expensive’, ‘the people there are cold’ etc etc. And I’m lost, perplexed even at how someone who just visited (New York for example) could describe it in such a dismissive fashion.
Then I think of my own ‘home’ and just how dismissive or even more so I am towards this so called paradise.
Which makes for the argument that some/many folks (such as I) think that trips/destinations are metaphors of discovery….that they are parables. We make these places to be more than they are! Which is in essence true.
Yes we romanticize many a destination, overly so. We who have never been, imagine beauty in its depth with scenes of wonder and intrigue, exotic foreign smells, noisy bustling streets, foreign tongues and divine cuisine. Imagery that others have described to us in great pains. Telling us what to feel about these far off places. But do ‘they’ believe this to be true? Is it really so wondrous as ‘they’ describe? Must I leave the safety and comfort of my ‘home’ for another, and is it worth the thousands of dollars spent?
Or is it just a place. Just a another piece of land with buildings stacked together in some kind of order. Just another un-incredible ‘home’. I know many think in this way. They look at these destinations as just another place to be homesick in. Just another place to feel like a foreigner…an alien. They count the days to return ‘home’. The scenery, the landscape, the history of the place is an un-welcomed after-thought that would not be worth ones extra brain activity.
But not I. I love the mystery. The story. The hows, the what’s, the where’s…the who’s and the insatiable why’s! Even in my ‘home’ I discover places and moments therein that just take my breath away…then I understand the spending of hard earned savings and the long flights here and the investing in good sunscreen and insect repellent.
The destination really can be awe-inspiring if we take the time to look and wonder at the architecture and design and history behind it all.
The unknown entices me with its seductive hold. I must go there, do this, discover that, and taste it all! Travel will always capture my minds heart. I cannot quench this thirst unless I do! There is beauty out there that must be seen and beheld!
As Wallace Steven puts it so eloquently:
“Beauty is momentary in the mind –
The fitful tracing of a portal;
But in the flesh it is immortal.”