Right after finishing my hotdog sandwich at a convenience store by the gasoline station, I bought a pen and pulled out my pocket-sized notebook to kill time while waiting for a friend. Without thoroughly thinking, the words came out naturally as the pen danced with the surface of the empty pages. A travel blogger who’s not traveling but actually living – that’s something new. Each stroke held weight; perhaps these thoughts were here a long time ago. Below is what I wrote.
Am I in the right place? Whether I’m in halt or in transit, I still ask myself this same question.
I’ve never been this still for so long. I’m fastened yet I’m tired, even more tired than when I ran. How could it be? Again, despite the contrast, going and staying don’t seem to be exact opposites.
I thought traveling led me closer to discovering who I am but in many ways, it kept me away from myself. The reality was that I wasn’t going out of my comfort zone, rather, I was hiding in it and busying myself in what seemed like doing the tedious.
‘Here’ seemed like a frightening concept; the thought of being somewhere else became my consolation – the easier route. By staying, I’m constantly battling the urge to leave, always fearing the idea of commitment, or rather, attachment.
How do I respond to circumstances? Will I fight or take flight?
In where I am right now, I’m overcoming more mountains than I’ve ever before — mountains of doubts, hills of unbelief, strong waves of insecurities and the vast sea of fear that seem to take whole of me. Who would’ve thought that staying could be this adventure-filled? Not me.
This time, I choose to fight.
‘Here’ is the quiet of the engine after a long drive, the gentle sound of pouring water after the kettle’s cry, the first release of air after completing a lap, the small space lying calmly word after word.
No big adventure is going to begin if I haven’t paused for a while first.
If I hadn’t stayed, would I have noticed these little things, the little breaks, the little hellos?
People immerse you in the place. Like the stars that cover me in the night sky, conversations with people spark a light, a splash of color that pops among the dull greys. Listening to stories plunge me into the life here. The longer I see how people get through days here, the more this place becomes alive. Now I understand that it takes time to understand life.
Weeks pass me by like days. The piercing whistle of the birds now became a soft orchestra piping in the background.
Maybe routines aren’t so bad at all. I wake up and feel the same cold cement on my feet, grab the same coffee mug in the morning, take a seat on the same chair every day and it’s not so bad. Things don’t change much and surprisingly, I’m content with it. I refuse to say that I’m conforming to mediocrity. Perhaps every day is a series of embracing who I am with where I am, making the most out of each moment I have with the people that surround me here and now.
This year, maybe I’ll stay; I’ll stay until the right place is no longer here but somewhere else.