So we’re back in Palolem, India, and settling into that tremulous and mystical moment in a longish trip away when time and travel sort of slow down. Lately, life has been less about recording and more about observing. Also, less about moving and more about standing still. We’ve no plans to leave the beach anytime soon, because life here is comfortable and warm and the big cities in this part of the world strike me as a bit haggard and harried and charmless, just like the big cities in every other part of the world I’ve visited. Cities make me nuts.
I’m also working remotely, now, so my days are a strange brew of big thinking and non thinking, in punctuated intervals. We’ve got a bit more than a week left of the trip, though, so perhaps our physical and mental slowing is a way to prolong the magic.
The current count:
One morning of dodgy stomach
Two countries and about a dozen cities and towns visited
One headlamp lost
One gigantic cockroach discovered in my clothes
One blister packet of Diazepam
Two packs of cigarettes (jeez, I know)
One journal three pages from full
One bag full of exotic spices stinking up my luggage like nobody’s business
A pocketful of trinkets for friends and family
Four postcards purchased but neither written on nor mailed. Sorry, guys. Not my strong suit.
Oh, yeah, and half a dozen bizarre and elaborate dream sequences, courtesy of my anti-malarial pills. In the best-worst of these, I was wandering the countryside barefoot and in tears because I’d lost both my travel partners and my shoes. The solution was easy: I put on an old pair of shoes I’d forgotten I had in my backpack and then kept on moving alone. There’s a metaphor in there. Plain sight, but it’s got nothing to do with this trip, or my travel partner, Emily, with whom I am getting along famously. Probably, it’s more about needs versus wants, and stomaching losses with minimal wailing and gnashing of teeth in general. In the “Real World,” to which I will soon return, and where I struggle mightily to stay centered and calm.
The hope is always that the lessons will make their way home with you, and continue to work on you well into the future. Adversity begets character, for sure. Even the good kinds of adversity, the kinds you hurtle at yourself, just to see. Like traveling to rag-tag countries full of wild smells and sights. Pretty much a sure thing.