What am I doing here?

Compagne di viaggio - foto di C. Nubile

Some travels didn't involve locomotion, but instead periods of residence and reflection, a weightless orbiting, as when I became almost invisible and seemed to dissolve, ghost-like again, in an agreeable location, an aromatic version of home, days of work and thought when I remained monkishly in my head, unaware of the exotic - days when I would emerge from my hotel room into a crowded Asiatic lane as though I'd been beamed there as "matter transfer" by hot light, surprised to see a bazaar and rickshaws and skinny street vendors, pretty girls staring, and I would laugh: What am I doing here?

Li scarpi!!! (Tuturanesi a BKK) - foto di C.Nubile

I'd come to see that travel for me was no longer a fun-seeking interlude, not even a roundabout detour of heading home, but a way of living my life: a trip without an end where the only destination was darkness. The beauty of it was that I was doing it in the simplest way, as a homeless person with a small bag and a briefcase of papers, rubbing across the world, travelling light. The epitome of this was the elderly father of the Jain I had met in Jodhpur, who, after I a long career as an accountant, said goodbye to his family and set out on foot to spend the rest of his wandering life seeking enlightment, or a monk like Tapa Snim in Mandalay, his whole material existence tucked into a bag slung over his shoulder, travelling from country to country to solve holy riddles in his head about the Buddha as a pinecone tree.

(Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Paul Theroux)

Happy monk - foto di Clara Nubile

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