Why I travel
I travel because I need to remind myself that normality does not exist: the points of view are by definition partial, and we all follow unstable, crazy and changeable trajectories. I leave to remind myself that nothing is absolute and constant.
I travel because it seems to me that I was born to do it: if I don’t, I only half-breathe. I am only half-existing. I throw away time and money and energy. Travelling steps up my game, which is a wonderful English expression if you think of it: the vortex of all my apparent certainties collapses, and I take risks, and I come to compromise with my fallacy. Travelling is a huge “who-cares-if-this-does-not-go-to-plan”.
I travel because it seems to me that the more I do it, the less I understand: it means that I am still evolving and I still have so many stories to listen to, so much music to discover, so many hands to hold, so many trains to miss, and so many hugs to take.
Traveling reminds me that seriously, deep down, I really need very little. This is demonstrated by the size of my backpacks which has decreased over the years: 1 pair of good shoes, 2 pairs of underpants and dry socks, 1 pair of trousers and 2 T-shirts, and 1 piece of soap. Everything can be washed, and then can get dry again. Obviously, sometimes I also need sweaters, and sometimes flip flops, and a hat and gloves. However, every time I come back from a trip, I look at those dozens of shoes in my walk-in closet and it’s not like they greet me, or that they really improve my life.
I travel because I can do it: let’s be real and let’s avoid hypocrisy. Only those who have freedom – economic, social and cultural – can travel. I often take for granted this state of autonomy in which I was lucky enough to be born, as a woman, as a human being. I could have come into the world in another era, or latitude, or social situation. Vonnegut urged some of his students to pay attention to it when things are going well. Travelling reminds me that things are really good for me, and that I should have the decency to appreciate it more often.
I travel because I never really felt I belonged to only one place: I say this with immense love, without any passive aggression or any arrogance. No place has ever stopped me completely, maybe because I loved and appreciated them all, always and despite. I leave so that a new place will burst into my heart, and can change me, and resize me.
I travel because I am afraid of dying: it allows me to be born again and again and again, and to meet a new family and new friends, and gives me new loves and broken hearts that are renewed every kilometre. Everyone of them becomes part of me, because even when you leave alone, you are never alone: those I meet improve and worsen me and make me laugh and make me crack with pain. I travel to meet hundreds of possible lives that extend beyond the only one that – apparently – was given to me.