The Traveler hears another conversation.
She sits with a smile on her face as she listens to the daily chit-chat on a bus. She knows this chatter is not hers to judge or to engage in. For her world is not filled with trips to car dealerships, office politics and weekends on the pontoon boat. Her world is filled with boarding passes, security checks and bus itineraries.
The Traveler turns heads.
He sits on a street corner or a park bench, propped up by his backpack.
Resting. Lounging. Plotting. Watching.
People turn to watch him as they drive by on their way to the office. He’s different. He doesn’t belong. His backpack indicates another path in life. He’s not weaving through traffic and inhaling a McMuffin as he frantically plows towards another day just like yesterday.
The traveler sees people watching him. He understands these people are gazing at him and thinking of another time in their own life. People are instantly thrown to a time in their lives when a choice was made. The traveler reminds them of the adventure they’ve been postponing, the dream they’ve delayed and he reminds them of the person they could still become. And sometimes, he reminds them fondly of a time when they were the traveler.
The traveler sees this recognition on the people who pass him by. And he quietly acknowledges this fleeting engagement with a smile of peace- a gesture of understanding.
A smile of simple kindness.
The Traveler lives in the moment.
The traveler is here. She’s present. She’s living in the moment- at its truest sense. She answers the question, “Where do you live?” with this simple reply- “here.”
For the traveler truly does live right here. Right in that moment. Her world is on her back- literally. Wherever she stops is just where she will be. And the next stop, well, hopefully it takes her one step closer to her destination. For that day- or for her life.
The traveler enters an authentic state of being that the non-traveler cannot comprehend. The traveler still has concerns; she also bears the burden of worry. But the act of perpetual movement and complete presence puts her worries into perspective. A perspective not shared by the sedentary soul.
Her worries revolve around her arrival- and her next departure. Does she have a place to sleep tonight- that meets her comfort zone? Will the bus she’s currently riding on take her to the proper destination- and if not- is she prepared to shift gears on the fly? Will her computer last through this next trip- or better yet, will her back? Can she afford a taxi to help her arrive at her resting spot tonight- or will she have to lug her heavy baggage through a city in 100 degree heat?
Will her friends and family understand that her perpetual wandering and desire to commit to no schedule are the things that bring her comfort- elements of her life that bring her joy? Will others understand that this sense of constant motion places her closer to her Flow- allows her to touch the edge of all that is possible- all that is beautiful- and sets her within her true essence of creative being that no other action can provoke? Will she find the person who understands this and chooses to travel through the journey beside her- as an equal- and with as much intensity and passion for the unknown as she harbors?
Will her perpetual travel leave her alone and without the ability to ever enter a “normal” state of living again? Or will her travel show her the pure joy and beauty of a chaotic world- and cause her to willfully celebrate a life of un-convention?
The Traveler has Freedom.
Above all else, the traveler holds his freedom as the essential element of his existence. He holds that freedom close, tightly embracing the ability to go- to leave- at a moment’s notice. Not because he has to leave or because the present makes him unable or unwilling to bear the moment. No, the traveler leaves because he must-it is his calling.
The traveler knows that destinations await him- filled with the smells and sounds of the raw essence of humanity. He knows that somewhere a street vendor is preparing a meal that will shift his definition of ecstasy. The traveler knows that somewhere a dingy, decrepit bus waits to hurtle him deep within a Himalayan village and allow him to glimpse into the distant, dying culture of a people who are invisible and fading amongst the mechanisms of modernity.
The traveler knows that somewhere, someone- in a place he has yet to visit- has a story to share with him. A story that reaches beyond language and cultural disparities- a story that will change his perceptions of the world he walks within.
The traveler protects this freedom at all costs- for he has sat with people whose countries deny them a passport and remove the ability to leave. The traveler knows the value of freedom- for he has walked among those who have none.
The Traveler knows peace.
The traveler understands peace in a way that few politicians or statesmen can comprehend. She has sat amongst a war-torn community who live the ramifications of our military industrial complex every single day. She has listened to the heart-wrenching story of a woman widowed by a callous soldier. The traveler has stood at the Wall between two peoples fighting for the same land. She has walked in the shoes of the displaced. The traveler has broken bread with the rebel soldiers fighting for the opportunity to merely taste what she holds above all else- freedom, self-determination and choice. She has felt the sting of racism, felt the fear of dictatorship, smelled the pain of tear gas.
The traveler has visited places others dared not go- for she must know what a place smells like and she must stand among the people her government has programmed her countrymen to fear and to hate.
The traveler knows there are two sides to every “truth” and “absolute” that her government uses to control a complacent population. For the traveler knows that every person in a distant land and an unknown culture is someone’s lover, someone’s mother or someone’s father.
The traveler sees humanity for what it is and what it could become- because she has chosen to walk within humanity and not hide from it. She stands within the chaos of humanity because someone must bear witness and someone must tell others what they cannot see for themselves.