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I’m mad. That’s what she said anyway.  Mad. But that she understands. I’m not really sure how that works. I mean, if I am really nuts then the understanding bit should not be possible, or at least be abnormally difficult.

She is finishing up a degree in Law and will soon be headed to Johannesburg to make a comfortable life there. I have made a comfortable life there and want to leave it.  Go to do something else. Maybe photography. Perhaps a bit of exploring. I’ve no idea really, but I want to live again – to be challenged. Partly I suspect that being out of my normal life for two weeks is starting to affect me. It’s not that I think i’ve gone particularly mad, just that I’ve become different.

His time is short, ended as always on the journey home, but while he lives, he lives.

Somewhere in the last few days, Richard-of-normal-world had changed into traveling-and-dreaming-doppelgänger Richard. Whenever it happens, it’s as if my real life has been suspended, fading into the background and I get to pick up where I left off with a different identity – the one that continues to learn more about the world, watching with a sense of wonder and novelty again. His time is short, ended as always on the journey home, but while he lives, he lives.

Reveling in the days that stretch into weeks, spent in the dust of roads traveled in the company of people with the beautiful, exciteable souls. The mad ones – delirious at the lives they can yet live. It used to be that the mad me was nothing more than a cloud of fond memories. Memories made in Johor Baru, in the dust of a bus clambering over the passes of Laos as I deliciously pressed my face to the dirty glass in glee. It was of nights in Cambodia and days spent in continual learning and dreaming the big dreams. The ones that matter.

Themost intersting roads we travel can be the hardest to leave.

The most interesting roads we travel can be the hardest to leave.

And then, somewhere, those memories became a person. Too many memories, you see, are dangerous. They become an identity.

More than a springboard to “what if”, they become “I have”.

I have seen the sun rise over Angkor Wat, I have watched drumming circles on Venice Beach and chilled stars over the soul-stilling silence of the Karoo at night. So many dreams of what-ifs have become the life of the me who has. Who wants to again. And more. And forever.

Perhaps thats what she meant. I’m mad because I live two lives. One which does what must be done. Who continually values his responsibilities to the world over the falling grains in his hourglass, and feels trapped for it. The other wants to dance with insecurity, live out the days in learning, seeking. Valuing meaning over mortality. Being over security.

I’m mad because I can’t be both. Not forever. In the end, one of me must win out.