There is something about being on the move…being on the road…traveling!
At four months, begun when I landed in New York City on March 31, this sojourn has already been the longest time I have been on the road. The end of the road is yet to come…by a long shot!
I left Nepal also to learn “about the world and the people who live on it.” What followed was an incredible privilege of getting education in four more countries, working in ten and traveling in about three dozen others, and of studying, living, working and traveling with, and befriending, people from all over the world.
Working in New Jersey and New Mexico, I took a number of road trips. Armed with a tentative itinerary, a Rand McNally’s Atlas and printouts of direction to cities — where friends lived — and other places of interest, I would just get in my car and hit the road!
Traversing the width of the country this time around, I have reconnected with about five dozen of those friends (see image at the top) representing eight nationalities, befriended in seven countries.
|Nationalities of friends.||Countries where I befriended them.|
(Of course, in addition to reconnecting with friends from the past — some of whom I met for the first time in over 20 years — I also got introduced to and befriended others.)
To see those friends, I have traveled to two dozen different cities spread over seventeen States spanning the width of the country from New York in the East to California in the West!
So…there is all that to being on the move…and more….
There is also that aspect of learning about the places and people visited as well as about my self, and about what is, or isn’t, really important in my life.
Living out of a suitcase, I move around with very little baggage — both literally and figuratively. Naturally, I feel considerably more liberated and unfettered.
(Though, truth be told, this time around, I have had difficulties keeping track of even the little I do move around with! 🙂 )
Stripped down to bare essentials thus, what I wear and don’t wear, the kind and/or size of vehicle I drive or don’t drive, the size of house I live in or don’t, the kind of money I make or don’t, my social status etc. — all elements of a rat race, many, both in Nepal and outside, are engaged in — become secondary.
The reason for the elements of a rat race being secondary is, firstly, most of these old friends and fellow travelers don’t judge me based on that. Secondly, a rat race, not having a finish line and having always viewed it as more a race in a hamster wheel than anything, I don’t take part in it!
Instead, I am able to devote considerable amount of time talking about, discussing, debating and exploring issues and causes close to my heart. I am able to engage with others — freely, openly, without any inhibitions — on equality, social justice and education in Nepal and elsewhere, everywhere from the United States in the West to Indonesia in the Far East and countries in between, such as Azerbaijan, Malawi, Qatar, Vietnam etc.
What’s more, most friends and others I meet even share my passion for those causes — many even doing what they can themselves — making most interactions considerably more meaningful and fruitful. (Back in Nepal, the friends I am able to do the same with number but just a few.)
What’s more, engaging with these friends and fellow travelers on world issues and having a world view on most issues is not seen as snobbery, as happens some times, nor is my cultural heritage used against me in the way some in Nepal sometimes do.
(Of course, living among, and traveling abroad with, people of different backgrounds in different cultures etc. isn’t all hunky dory — it comes with its own challenges, some of which are similar to those I face in Nepal!)
There is also the added bonus of these friends not caring much about my sense of fashion, sporting an Australian bush hat as I normally do 🙂 .
What’s more, when I am on the road, most of the people I get to spend my time with are able to relate to the way I live — and view — my life; they are able to relate to my view of the world and even to my sense of humor, as exemplified by my Facebook post reproduced below!
There is all that — and still more — to being on the road…to being an explorer!