Reading Time: 9 minutes
Traveling is rarely about rest and relaxation, especially if one does not know how to rest and relax, while not traveling. It does give an illusion when we’re in a rut, that traveling to some exotic location, will take off some steam and bring unending pleasantness. And it does, for a short time, which may even end before the first day of holidaying is over, and I’ve been with some people and heard from many, the confirmation to this hypothesis, that they’re unable to stick to the pleasantness they had anticipated by taking up the travels, to a far off place which looked beautiful and serene, and could’ve provided relief to their distress. The mind seeks constant stupor and provides various illusions on how things can be different somewhere else. And the irony of holidaying for most of us is, we end up either stressing more – while leaving, after first few hours or days of reaching the dream location, and definitely after we come back to the rut. I’m sure there are many rational reasons for such behaviors which most of us will avoid digging into.
After all, providing fuel to the mind’s incessant ability to wander and create stupor is a full time activity for all of us, we’re trained and come preprogrammed for such a compulsively engrossing task.
Although, I’ve never had this problem, whether I’m traveling or otherwise, but again, I’ve been with people or heard from them, about how they needlessly wonder about their work while on holidays, and dream about a perfect holiday while at work. Its quite amusing for me as an outsider, but I’m sure, for the people exhibiting such behaviors, it can be heavily taxing on their system, since most of the conserved energy is getting frivolously spent in active hallucinating and thus possibly leaving one exhausted and confused.
I think, I would have considered myself very fortunate, if I would have ever had the pleasure of meeting Mark Twain, when he was around, either in his hometown, or while he was traveling on the Mississippi, in San Fransisco or the Indian subcontinent. It would be indeterminate whether his experience in meeting me would be equivalent. I obviously like his style of writing, and consider his work solid, witty and revealing. But beyond the general praises, I like the insights I get whenever I read his elaborate work or the numerous quotations which float around on the internet under his name. He was certainly well traveled, and observed the various facets of life and lifestyle very closely, while smoking his favorite cigars. Traveling during his times, definitely was risky, and not returning back to where you started from, was a possible uncertainty. With my current lifestyle, I find myself traveling for about four to five months in a year. It might be due to actual holidaying, visiting friends and family, or sometimes working. My current work requires me to think more than act, when it comes to how I actually use my energies. Having said that, over the years, I’m realizing how it is extremely important to know “How to think” versus knowing only “What to think”.
Thinking is subtle action and a precursor to visible action, while visible action is a consequence of subtle thinking.
I’m beginning to realize the significance of this correlation, and it would be probably incorrect to assert that the two activities are actually separate or distinct. Analogically, they’re kind of like the beginning and ending rungs of a ladder or beginning and ending frequencies of a light spectrum etc., and it would be certainly unwise to categorically consider thinking and acting as two separate phenomena. They’re not, but in general parlance, we make the mistake of looking at them separately, and finding ourselves helplessly struggling with creating life situations in any elegant manner. The amount of energy which gets wasted, literally, in not knowing or not being alert of this fact, leads to an exhausting and confused life, where we remain clueless as to how things are occurring around us.
On the current travel schedule, which is part of my 4 month gig for 2018, requiring crossing couple of continents and oceans, I’m traveling without the missus. Traveling with or without one’s significant or insignificant other, has its own repercussions, after having clarified my initial take on traveling, not necessarily being an act for rest and relaxation.
As individual human beings, we are largely in a state of flux, and conceptualizing us within a framework of how we are or should be, is simply an expensive mistake, often done, rarely inspected and one has to pay a hefty price for such uncanny generalizations.
The biggest advantage of traveling together, assuming a relationship where both partners are actively willing to learn about their own idiosyncrasies and limitedness, is you grow as an individual and your affection and love for each other scales up non-linearly, in some form of quantum leaps, perhaps, equivalent to Einstein, Bohr or Bose’s findings about the random quantum leaps of electrons within matter. The key in this kind of processes is the aforementioned observation: “assuming a relationship where both partners are actively willing to learn about their own idiosyncrasies and limitedness”. If this willingness is missing, good luck in traveling with any partner who is close to you, either physically, mentally, emotionally or in business. It doesn’t work well for the simple reason, we as humans are not a concept, we don’t function based on recorded observations from the past, or theological assertions from books, or any forced moral values imposed by society, parents or teachers.
It is my contention that, humans are uniquely organic, they cannot be predicted, just like ‘em electrons, and if one expects traveling with such humans will automatically and always bring the serenity for which you spent the thousand dollar tickets or ten thousand dollars excursions, good luck with that line of thinking. Disappointment will be the least of the worries, and coming back being emotionally wrecked or physically exhausted will probably be a distinct certainty.
But, if the partners consider growth and togetherness as important, not as a derived benefit of the other’s changing attitude, but in wanting to dig within themselves actively, to investigate the nuances and compulsions of our own behaviors and attitudes, traveling can become a phenomenal tool for self exploration – defeating our ignorance and freeing us from regular stupidity. Having said all this, traveling is probably a good thing, regardless of one’s individual or combined goals of growth or compatibility, because it provides the opportunity to come in contact with an exposure to difference on the outside and indifference on the inside. The experience of traveling, on the other hand, will certainly depend upon one’s wanting to mature and that fact cannot be altered, because the core nature of traveling is to be amongst the anomalies of change and variations.
Whenever fate or sponsored tickets brings me to America, after the initial fright at the immigration counter, and pretend exchange of pleasantries with the officer, I like to seek out and immerse with the land and water of this beautiful country. America is known for its consumerism, prolific research in advance technologies, magnificent buildings of prosperous megacities, channelized transportation, flourishing commerce and extraordinary display and affording of comfort, convenience and luxury.
I don’t have any particular opinion about the economy of this country, or the freedom the constitution is supposed to provide which the denizens are supposed to enjoy, the excessive dependency on market economy to create wellbeing for the individual, the almost mandatory need for insurances of all types to be substituting the individual’s need to be living responsibly, the categorically challenging atmosphere created by wanting to live extravagantly, considering it as a wise choice and only eventually realizing that it takes off 35 to 50 years of adult life to build such a lifestyle, hinging on borrowed resources, while the average life expectancy is still only a tad bit over 75 years.
So, obviously, I don’t have any issues with any of these observations, which I insist is not an opinion, but I think every thought, action, compulsion and concept over which we build our life, has an innate consequence, and it is my general observation, most of us are not familiar, nor are willing to read into the consequence of our actions based on a long term view of a fleeting life, which actually could end abruptly, accidentally or to bring some sense of relief, eventually. Anyways, the point I was trying to make is simple, whenever I visit America, the first thing I want to do over here, is go and walk in the beautiful and underutilized state parks, amongst nature, which still has 50 to 100 years old trees, creeks, flowing rivers etc. It brings me immense joy and a sense of freedom to be doing that, which is unparalleled and usually unavailable in other developing countries. I like to walk the trails, sit by the water body, take photos, write about the experiences, be with the silence of the sky and simply immerse with the elements, which are so present and bountifully wanting to involve.
To me, traveling is another tool to come closer to myself. It exposes me to the different cultures and milieu of the human species. It also exposes me to my inherent biases and reluctance to accept diversity. It shows me the compulsive need to be constantly forming opinions about other people and places, compare them with my own ideas about how life should be, and most importantly, traveling offers me an unique opportunity to scale myself up as a human being, who is profoundly waiting to evolve, wanting to seek dimensions beyond his own opinions and beliefs.
Traveling is a simple tool for all this. But, so is silence and sitting quietly without moving much, and allowing the madness of the mind to settle on its own accord, by not reacting for its need to move. Obviously, these are two very different methods for self exploration and I personally like to apply both of them simultaneously, since I’m only married to the missus, not any methods, and hence I see no particular issue with applying both styles, in trying to figure out some existential answers to the elusive manners of the mind wanting to create constant stupor, while the obvious manners of the body, takes me straight to the grave in a matter of time.
In my opinion, and this is an opinion, because it pertains to my own outlook of life, these are not small or insignificant matters, which can be avoided in pursuit of happiness, as written in the US constitution. These are significant matters, which requires one to question the incessant stupor of the mind and movement of the body, in perennially wanting to create a world of our own liking, while simultaneously with time, both the faculties of mind and body, take upon a diminishing curve of efficacy, leading to their eventual collapse into oblivion, upon the arrival of death. I personally attach significant importance, to such quests and inquiries, and find that because of this attitude, the engaging travels or the still silence, which I partake, has a beauty of its own, as for most part, I disallow – stress, aggressiveness or compulsive rushing – to dilute my experience of them.
Thanks for reading, until next time, Ciao!