I have this superhuman ability. It is pretty spectacular so don’t be too jealous. I am able to relate everything back to travel.
Example 1: Collecting a bill
Squirrels collect things. Squirrels like nuts. Hazelnuts. Nutella. Nutella tastes good on crepes. There is an amazing creperie in Ios, Greece. This one time in Greece I was sick and I held my coughs in for 11 hours on a bus ride because the driver scared the shit out of me.
Example 2: Ear
Easy. Ear rhymes with beer. I may have had one or two alcoholic beverages while in Budapest.
Example 3: Religion
You can easily offend people. I lived in my car for a month and a half while driving the Australian coast and I offended people with my odour.
My raw talent is resume-worthy if you ask me. Some may say I “caught the travel bug”. I say no because I hate that stupid saying.
I get the analogy of addiction/ obsession, I just don’t like it. Bugs are awful- they buzz, bite, and bother. They can cause diseases that you want to be ridden from your body. Such as when I contracted Dengue Fever in India. The classic situation where I was hanging out in a nightclub, in a mall, in Delhi just minding my own business when BAAM Dengue. There is no cure and it all started with a BUG bite folks. I have, however, met a guy from Brazil who is trying to find a vaccine, so hope is on the way! To me, the only thing bugs and travel have in common is that I can get worked up about both.
Travel is not something you catch or something that can be contained; it’s the exact opposite. It slips through your fingers like grains of sand and spreads like sunshine over sharp blades of grass. It’s the raw realization that the world isn’t always just. Not everyone’s hardships are equal. It’s the pure, exhilarating adrenaline in all its glory; the rush of adventure, of courage, of wonder, of enlightenment. It’s the dazed confusion of getting hopelessly lost. It’s the look you give THAT person and knowing the rarity of having someone so awesome in your life. It’s the hidden perspective you acquire without meaning to. It is your own rendition of your favourite things (hopefully still sung by Julie Andrews because she is an angel). It is a tie-dye shirt; every vibrant colour is thrown into one messy canvas. You can’t pinpoint exactly what it is. It is more moments and mistakes wrapped in hope. It is purely felt. In that sense, it is more like an emotion.
An emotion that sounds like overflowing beer glasses clinking in a warm, dimly lit pub. The uncomfortable laugh towards a stranger’s inappropriate joke. The pristine sound of nature breathing in the early morning- fluttering, whistling, smiling.
It smells like overripe fruit in a bustling market that has been sitting out all day. That distinct body wash scent you lathered yourself with every day for month. The smell of forty-degree heat radiating off the sticky pavement.
The travel emotion tastes like haggis. You don’t know what it is, or how it came into existence (I’m aware of that thing called Google) but you want more. It is the most savoury spoonful, the most dreamy dish.
Travel feels like your heavy head resting on an unfamiliar hostel pillow. The volcanic, sun-soaked black rocks tingling between your bare toes. Heavy tears trickling down your face after a heart-wrenching goodbye. Your golden ticket out of there grasped firmly in your sweaty hand.
Travel looks like your train leaving the foreign station moments before you arrive. It’s the vibrant red, yellow and blue hand-crafted necklace, gently draped over a donkey’s dark brown neck. The speechless amazement when you see a world wonder for the first time; rough yet soft, old yet new, tragic yet inspiring and you think ‘here I am’. I can’t even draw a stick figure and somehow, something created THIS…
You are incapable of sitting still. The light drew you in, you cautiously peeked through the crack in the wooden door and now curiosity drives you; closer and closer towards the unknown. You now know the tastes, smells, sounds, textures and beauty of the world and your body craves more. Emotion is created from the experiences you had. Not quite jubilation nor excitement and happiness isn’t quite right. Something so indescribable the word has not been created in the English language. Some people rarely have the travel emotion, they keep it buried or maybe they prefer the familiarity of normal emotions. Others, courageous enough, feel it all the time. After all, travel has meant to me, I don’t see how it can be compared to a stupid bug.