A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” – George Moore

 

Can you still stay for awhile? Sofia, 10 year old daughter of my host family in Austria yelled out from her window as I was about to put my last luggage inside the car. In my haste, I remember I forgot to kiss her good-bye as I didn’t see her around.

Her words and my never ending rushing are my crossroads in life.  I always have these choices: stay or leave.  Sadly for those who asked me to stay, I opted to leave.

These past two months of extensive travelling and rushing really drained me out. I feel hollow inside! There never seems to be enough time. I have less for myself and far less for another person.

I see myself in those who are impatient for people who talk or walk slowly, impatience in traffic, slow service, etc. “Time is money” we say. We rarely have time for real dialogue or for just “wasting time”.  Living in a European culture, this kind of system is eating me up slowly or faster?

somewhere never anywhere

This month, my work took me up to the beautiful Alps of Europe. Trekking along the steepy trails, enjoying the silence and solitude of the mountain sides, immersing in deep thoughts on a mountaintop while observing the panaroma below gave me a chance to slow down my pace and begin to see the world in a different perspective.

The marvelous part of it, I was only carrying a light backpack and in between pause, I would sit down pondering on a quote  inscribed on a plaque affixed to the bench like these:

travel -Alice in Wonderland

reflections

Yes, Just where am I going anyway? Where is there? Who am I? etc

I am always going somewhere, never being anywhere…never being with the person or people I care for.

One hiker beside me was reading a book of Helen Nearing, “Loving and leaving the Good life” and she smilingly showed me a passage from the book:

When one door closes, another opens . . . into another room, another space, other happenings. There are many doors to open and close in our lives. Some doors we leave ajar, where we hope and plan to return. Some doors are slammed shut decisively – “No more of that!” Some are closed regretfully, softly – “It was good, but it is over.”

Departures entail arrivals somewhere else. Closing a door, leaving it behind, means opening onto new vistas and ventures, new possibilities, new incentives.”

Reading it seemed to give me another oracle to my queries: am I ready to close a door? what am I ready to give up?

I am beginning to  believe that no external success can atone for internal failures.

I placed my last heavy luggage inside my car and went back to see Sofia.  I looked at her sad eyes wanting to tell her I can’t stay as I have another train to catch up. Instead, my lips uttered…”okay, I will stay for awhile!”

TRAVEL QUOTES

What am I doing here?”
Rimbaud writing home from Ethiopia

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

Muhammad says, ‘Love of one’s country is a part of the faith.’
But don’t take that literally! Your real ‘country’ is where you’re heading, not where you are.
Don’t misread that hadith.”
Rumi

If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.”
Henry Miller

Traveling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.'”
– Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

When you are everywhere, you are nowhere.
When you are somewhere, you are everywhere.”
– Rumi

Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.”
Freya Stark

If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.”
Glenn Clark

Home is where I should be.” – Isak Dinesen, Out of africa

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” –Lin Yutang

Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” – Rosalia de Castro

The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

Only he that has traveled the road knows where the holes are deep” – Chinese Proverb

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” St. Augustine

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” – Susan Heller

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.” – Anatole France

All the pathos and irony of leaving one’s youth behind is thus implicit in every joyous moment of travel: one knows that the first joy can never be recovered, and the wise traveler learns not to repeat successes but tries new places all the time.”
Paul Fussell

The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes “sight-seeing.” – Daniel J. Boorstin

It is not down in any map; true places never are.” – Herman Melville

What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” – William Least Heat Moon, Blue Highways

The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Most travel is best of all in the anticipation or the remembering; the reality has more to do with losing your luggage.” – Regina Nadelson

I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” – Lillian Smith

Now I know why they tell you to put your head between your knees on crash landings. You think you’re going to kiss your ass good-bye.” – Terry Hanson

I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain

When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in. . .”
D. H. Lawrence

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” – James Michener

To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley

My travels led me to where I am today. Sometimes these steps have felt painful, difficult, but led me to greater happiness and opportunities.” – Diana Ross

We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.” – Hilaire Belloc

We may run, walk, stumble, drive, or fly, but let us never lost sight of the reason for the journey, or miss a chance to see a rainbow on the way.” – Unknown

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
Helen Keller

Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of food, your closet full of clothes – with all this taken away, you are forced into direct experience. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That’s not always comfortable, but it is always invigorating.”
Michael Crichton

All the above is, of course, a gross simplification. There are deeper reasons to travel – itches and tickles on the underbelly of the unconscious mind. We go where we need to go, and then try to figure out what we’re doing there.”
Jeff Greenwald “Shopping for Buddhas”

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”
Martin Buber

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