One of the most satisfying parts of traveling is not the places you see. It is the journeys between – the time you get to spend alone with yourself in quiet reflection, or in the company of good friends, having conversations on diverse and entertaining topics.
Long train and bus trips in Cambodia and Laos had that quality. Travelling home from Durban today was like that too. As a stressed joburg rat who often forgets that there is a life outside of worry and work, it is always surprising to feel that almost physical unwinding and lifting of the tightness of stress and worries that you had no idea you had. Traveling in the late afternoon through the Drakensberg, sun in our faces and Bob Marley on the radio gave rise to precisely one of those experiences. The ones where you feel completely relaxed and at peace. It’s quite indescribable unless it has happened to you, but is what I think people mean when they talk about the universe coming together.
It’s an interesting feeling, not least for the fact that it makes you certain that, for that moment, everything in the world is exactly where it is meant to be. That you are supposed to be here, now, in the circumstances that you are in. It’s truly a special feeling, and one that I wish that I was able to carry with me always, not just in the few odd moments that it finds me.
What is interesting though, is how the world has not really changed when these times arrive. I have exactly the same pending work and responsibilities as I had before. The music and the world around me is not objectively more important or different in those moments than in any others. Put simply, I suspect that feeling powerful, content and fundamentally happy in these periods is not because the world has become a beautiful, connected place, filled with contentment any more than it ever was before.
Rather, for a small moment in time, it must be who changes.