If you have known me to any meaningful extent, you would know that for me when someone talked about travel..this would be the usual conversation:
someone -” I wanna travel, explore new places , meet new people”
me- you just don’t wanna work, isn’t it? What use is your travel going to be ?
someone- Well it exposes you to different things , you learn a lot
me- uuuuuummmmm…learn ? but how can you learn from travelling . If you wanna learn you should get some books or talk to smart people …right ? how is travel gonna help you ?
someone- i am going to meet different people on my way ..will get into different circumstances
me- ..welllll…true ! but..isnt it a very inefficient way of meeting people who can teach you something .. so for instance, if you wanna learn about how this world works , go and talk to a physicist; if you wanna learn about business talk to entrepreneurs….while travelling you might meet few interesting people..but isnt it very inefficient !!!
someone-( this guy is mad)
me – (he/she is just a slacker !!! )
Lets fast forward to today now ! Its been sometime now and since then I have travelled a lot ( Well at-least by my standards you judgemental moron !). The great thing that has happened though is that i have had the opportunity and pleasure to go out with people from different backgrounds and nationalities. On a lot of such occasions we were able to have lots of interesting conversations. Just not to over-romanticise this, with a lot of people I could not go beyond the usual weather-talk , which just bored the hell out of me and i would wonder what the hell i am doing here. But where we could, I have been fortunate to hear to people’s stories. Through these stories, they have given me a look into their ‘core memories’* that have shaped their personalities and their world view. They have shared their vulnerabilities and their motivations . All this has helped me develop empathy or form that human connection. I will go ahead and lay out a couple of examples to bring this out.
- This conversation was with a friend in a cafe in western europe . Just to put things into context, I always thought of this guy as a shallow pretentious fuck ( sorry dude if you are reading this 😛 ). Anyways, so, I was blabbering about my problems and how life is not fair and everything . While we were reminiscing about the past, this dude shares with me how one of his very very close family members was in a critical state in the hospital when he was supposed to leave. While he was narrating the story, we were both struggling to keep tears at bay. Unable to understand, how he managed to remain ‘intact’ during those times, he told me very simply something on these lines – you need to decide whether you want to focus on shaping your future or you want to get drowned into the present sorrow which might not be in your control. If I can borrow a quote from one of my favourite movies ” we don’t decide where we come from but we sure can decide where we go” **.
- I have learnt from a friend whom I share with a deep resentment for “pessimist slackers” who had gone on solo travels to distant lands ( sorry cant name the country here) so she can clear out her thoughts, sort priorities , to cut herself off so as to find herself back. And this was the person I never thought would have a hard time with anything.
These and other such stories and encounters have really helped me question my worldview, have a relook at my priorities, realise how we are more vulnerable than we ever thought but at the same time stronger than we can imagine. More on this in the later posts.
*(if I may borrow that term from one of my favourite Pixar movies- Inside Out).
**common go watch it if you could not recall that its from Perks of being a wallflower