Thursday, March 05, 2009
So being the silly poenani I am, I have thought about this a lot so please bear with me – a lot ok – but I think when you travel, the people you meet on the way and how you can be anyone or anything you want is the clincher.
Look, I love making new friends from weird and wonderful places. If they speak a foreign language, even better. But I love it. So maybe this is why meeting these types while discovering another world is just too much fucking fun for mere words.
People not travelling: rank how rocking your car is, your job, who you KNOW, where you were educated, if you’re married, as priorities and status symbols. Not that this is wrong, because where we’ve developed roots and a place called ‘home’, is where this shit matters.
But I think I prefer the priorities traveller’s tend to adopt. That usual stuff doesn’t matter so much anymore, and you get happy very quickly.
Especially in places like France where it matters that you own good wine and eat around a table everyday, celebrating food and siestas. No one gives a continental that you drive a clapped-out piece of junk Renault 5, even if you live in a castle in the Loire Valley. Your wine collection makes you a millionaire.
When you travel no one gives a fuck that you’ve just bought a new Audi or if you’re CEO of an international pool pump company, specialising in patented suction control.
One of the reasons I ran away to South America was because no one has pre-conceived ideas about anyone. No one has agendas or gives a toss about them. I left out where I worked and that I’d just launched a novel as much as I could. I was just me, all that other stuff aside.
Travellers really seem to care about where you’ve been, where you’re going, and where you’re from. In fact all conversations started off exactly like that:
“Where’re you from then.”
South Africa. [Soth Efrika. They think your ekksent is cute when you speak. That’s a first]
Americans: Where’s that.
Brits: Oh yeah? Was finking of going to see Tabletop Mountain on my next olliday.
“Where’ve you come from.”
“So what did you fink of the place, I din’know… I was pretty hammered and passed out in a vineyard and Freddie ran off wiff me hostel card.”
They care where you’re going to next. Most were travelling around the continent for months, some even a year, on end.
“You off to Columbia after this?”
Actually, I’m going back to work.
“Aw mate that suckkkkks more than a bag fulla cocks.”
But you can also be whoever you want. Or, if you’ve had to live up to expectations your whole life, you can simply be yourself.
Back when I backpacked Europe, my mate and I thought it would be sooooo funny to tell people we were from Northern Guatemala. Why the north, beats me. Lame.com.
But I mean seriously: you can walk into a hostel and if someone happens to ask what you do eventually, you can say: “You know the circus? I’m the freak show. I have an act and everything.”
And once you’ve said they can only see your official act, endorsed by Boswell Wilkie Esquire, is if they get you 8 jaegermeisters.
Then you won’t care if you cut shapes to Whitney Houston on a table in a hamburger suit AND juggle at the same time AND pretend you’re Eric Cartman from Southpark.
And people are generally happy and carefree when they travel. Or otherwise very philosophical, because they’re in the throes of finding themselves and stuff.
But the main point I think I’m trying to make here, is that bottom line: you learn not to take yourself too seriously. Yourself, others, or anything. We forget easily though, once we’re back in the rat race and the stress envelopes us. Suddenly everything is dire and hectic, intense and all-consuming. So my little March resolution is to remember to chill, and not to take myself too seriously. It’s only life after all. Am trying, it’s my new personal challenge.
Annnnnyway. Was thinking about that last night, nursing a pilates-elasticated hamstring, before I settled in with the Josef Fritzl book. I’m on the chapter which describes how he engineered the bunker. Eight doors with their own remote control system.
It’s. Fucked. Up.
If evil was tangible, then this type of evil has its own driver’s license.