While I tried to kill time by counting the number of new mosquito kisses I could collect in one hour (twelve), I ran into John, my ten-month traveling British friend. We were discussing our journeys and beyond. He mentioned that traveling had enabled him to soak up knowledge a lot quicker, like a sponge.
I liked this idea of being a sponge. As we travel, we soak up images, smells, sounds, stories, knowledge and so on. By the end of the trip, it's dripping out of you. It'll definitely take some time to sit, reflect, and squeeze it out to see what you've got. Otherwise, it'll evaporate, leaving you damp at most. I think I'm going to actually have to take some time off, after my time off, to sort through everything I've been collecting in my brain.
I was telling John how I'd come to the decision to travel and mentioned that no one ever regrets traveling. He said he'd met two people who told him that traveling had wrecked their lives. I grew nervous for a moment thinking that perhaps taking time off had cost them some sort of opportunity. What they said was that once they had returned from their trips, they found themselves eager to go back out again. They'd sit at work and find themselves trying to figure out when they'd have enough money to go to the next generation. The funny thing was, I'd had this imaginary conversation with myself on the train to Agra the other morning (I make up a lot of random dialogue... stop looking at me that way):
- How'd you guys deal with getting acclimated to being back home after seeing so much and traveling so long?
+ You don't, you just come back and try to figure out how you can get back out there again.
= Yeah man, you're $%^ed. You've got 'it', you've got the travel bug.
+ I'm sure everywhere you went, someone told you what you should have seen.
- Yes! People were like, "Are you going to Turkey? You should spend at least a month in Turkey." And I'd say, um, I'm spending zero days there, you think that's enough?
= You'll never see everything. You have to realize that. It's not possible.
+ You'll try though. Every moment you're back at the office, you'll be working towards the next trek.
So it was interesting that John mentioned these 'wrecked' lives. I'd already started to feel it. One of my newest fantasies is to return to the States for a few weeks and figure out how to make some quick cash to continue on to South America as soon as possible. You can't travel five continents and just stop can you?
I'm heading to Manali today on a night bus. I'm currently passing time, pre-typing blogs in the sanctuary of another air-conditioned coffee house (today Barista, yesterday Costa). To my dismay, there's no wifi nor an outlet to keep my laptop charged. But the paneer sandwich and ginger fizz were yummy.