As I am reeling from my recent excursion and looking forward to the next, hopefully more relaxed one, I got to think about how much travelling enriches and changes us. Isn’t travelling just great — simply in the small ways we learn to be more open about the world, more perceptive, more tolerant and knowledgeable? There is a new, magical world opening up in front of us, making us forget about the problems we have had back home in a heartbeat.
So far so good. However, for me, there has always been something very nostalgic in travelling. And it has nothing to do with me quickly falling for a place, finding my peace, and satiating my curiosity (all of these things do happen to me regularly though), so that I do not feel like I want to leave it. I feel nostalgic when I am there because as much as a new world is opening up in front of me, just as much of it remains hidden, perhaps never to be explored by me.
When you travel and visit new places do you ever wonder how does the average person live? Whenever you take a guided tour through some historical place, such as a castle or other monument, the guides always seem eager to explain what the king/queen did, how he/she acted, what he/she was famous for, mixed with a funny anecdote or two. No one ever tells you about how the average people lived, what they did, what kind of values they had, what was important for them in those days…simply what was ordinary life like.
Or as I am wandering through a new (often gorgeous and fascinating) city, I often ask myself if I would be happy living there; and how do the strangers I meet live like. Or what is life like for whoever lives in that corner house on the small square with the many flowers on the balcony. And strangely, these are questions I do not ask myself whenever I am back home, wherever home might be. Perhaps it is the transience of it all — my brief glimpse on the small square with small, colorful houses and the flowers of the balcony, and my subconscious knowing I will probably never return the this place again and thus trying to hold the memory for as long as possible. There is hardly a way to explain it without sounding corny. Whatever it is, it is definitely something to be cherished — a slightly sad feeling of not belonging, or everything being fleeting, or nothing, including you, lasting forever. You blink and it is all over.