Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Take A Trip With Me

There is something about seeing passion and emotion in another person that I love. I get addicted to listening to people talk about their obsessions, loves, and fears. We are all so tainted by social norms, Hollywood, the media, the ethics of daily life, politics - do we know anything else? The way we present ourselves is mirrored to the way we want to see other people. Seeing passion in another person is like taking an eraser to the front we all construct.

Years ago, when I used to meet people and fall "in like" with someone, I would imagine what they were truly like beyond the socially fabricated fa├žade. In my head I would imagine that person in an emergency situation. I would picture a car accident, a burning building, a gunman in a bank. Then I would focus on his face and how he would react in that situation. Strange? Probably. But there is something about fear that turns a person inside out for the whole world to see. Situational fear is spontaneous and so real and unpredictable. 

Passion resides in many other forms as well. I don't need to picture all of you in a burning building to get an idea of what your emotions are. Music, art, food, athletics, social work, politics. Obsession knows no boundaries. 

For me? It's traveling. 

While traveling on a bus across South America, I wrote this following piece. I scribbled in a journal while gazing at the rolling landscape of central Argentina. All alone, with all of my possessions crammed into a pack below the bus, I felt obsessed and invincible.

Traveling is not for vagabonds, the irresponsible and careless. Traveling requires patience, determination and above all else passion. It requires a sense of passion that reserves itself for the diehards, obsessed and insane. Traveling is a time when the past is irrelevant and the future is undetermined, a time when a person frees themselves from the restrictions of societies, nine to fives, and the struggle to stay afloat. Traveling is this moment, and this moment only.

No one cares who you were yesterday, or the status you have in your "other life," because there isn't time. People flow in and out of your days so quickly that all you can do is appreciate them for who they are, study their face, their mannerisms, and promise yourself that you'll remember them forever.

Three years ago, I got off a small plane in Patagonia and planned on taking a taxi into town. The ATMs weren't working in the airport and the nearest hostel was miles away. Before I could panic, two fellow travelers offered to share their taxi with me. "Where are you going?" they asked me. I paused and took a step into the unknown. "Wherever you guys are going, I guess." That small gesture changed everything. I was dropped off at a hostel by the water and met three Australians. From there we jumped from glaciers to islands to local bars. (I happened to meet two drunken sailors who said their naval fleet left them at the port thirty years ago for being too drunk.) A week later, living at the same hostel and two days before I was supposed to fly out of the tiny village, I was somehow coerced into buying a last minute ticket to Antarctica. While some people plan this trip for a decade, I was hopping on board three days before departure. When I stepped foot onto the expedition ship and climbed onto the upper deck, I felt it - I felt the obsession of travel, the feeling that I could "never go back" to a normal life. The two peninsulas of land on either side of the harbor left a small opening out to the ocean. Beyond that passage was nothing but rolling waves until the land at the bottom of the earth. The ship sounded the fog horn for departure as I held onto the cold railing and stared at the horizon where water met sky. Nothing but water and a small boat, but somehow I felt like the possibilities were endless.

Come along for my next journey as I travel solo to Morocco next week. I have a roundtrip ticket, a backpack, and an empty journal. I have no plans except to step off the plane and not trip. After that the rolling sand dunes and busy medinas will lead the way. 

Somehow this post, as like the ones previous, ends hanging on the edge of the unknown. I seem to find myself wondering about the beyond, the darkness, the uncertainty. Maybe it's not just travel that provides my emotion and passion, but the feeling of perpetual flux and potential fear. 


  1. Traveling is a passion? That's the motto I follow!
    Enjoy Morocco! Salam Aleikoum!

  2. Wow. This is a great post. New follower and I dig it. :)