Why I love to travel.

Couple weeks ago and out of the blue, I was asked: “tell me about a place you feel most safe.”

***

Such an unexpected question, I mused, trying to gather my thoughts. I closed my eyes in an attempt to envision, which place on this planet would feel very safe to me. My mind shifted through the Polaroid snippets in my imagination, looking for that peaceful emotion brought forth by an image of a place I missed.

I thought back to my hometown, knowing full well that the feeling that within seconds was certain to arise in my chest is unease, boredom and emptiness. So I quickly discarded this specific path and tried to probe my memory to come up with a different image.

A reflection of a blue mountain land flooded my mind. Long mountain ridges, surprisingly mellow and round peeks. Lush, green valleys, sun rays filtering through sunflower petals near the side of the road. Simple human faces, local dialect, the attitude of cool un-sophistication… half-domesticated horses and less than that, people. Bieszczady Mountains, where I left my heart, they were real in my mind’s eye … but nothing about them said “safe”. They were inspiring and welcoming. Buzzing with light and adventure.

“Home” and “safe” did not tie together my head at all, it seemed.

Then, my mind veered towards the warmth… my partner’s embrace. The paradise of sensory information that was telling me, this was my mental and my soul’s home. This was where I arrived, where love felt safe, full and ripe like the orange sun of the long, Mediterranean day – where I could trust with my heart beyond any limits – this was safe. But the orange sun could set, leaving behind a grey, shadowy path. Nothing’s more expected in life than sunrises, sunsets and sometimes, a dull dusk – in any human relationship; you know that if you only loved and lost.. and in a way should it ever truly feel safe? When do we start to take it for granted? … and if it feels safe, and then, it doesn’t, the homelessness of that feeling is not something I would ever like to dwell upon…

I quickly turned away from yet another mental path.

***

So I started to say, I have no safe place, not truly. In my mind, I found nothing; sky, sea, mountains, home, outside, in another land, or right back in my own backyard, none of that felt safe. Nowhere I could truly let go, relax… But as I started to explain this, exasperated and halfway in disbelief over the fact that nothing seemed safe enough to me, a thought hit me… So I stopped myself mid-sentence and said instead..

“I will tell you about the one place that truly feels safe to me. As soon as I sit down in a bus, train or a car and it gets moving… I cherish that moment of complete relaxation. The road ahead is my only context and parameter. The moving horizon is my definition. Shifting views are my meditation; and the only thing that I know for sure is my existence.
Everything is new and can change at any moment, but I can trust my mind, my soul and my heart to bring me the true essence of the experience. Be here now… This has always been my safe space, my oasis and freedom – the place I belong – though it’s kind of weird to feel most at home within the moving landscapes… but they awaken hope.”

Cabo da Boa Esperança

“So your safe space is a bus.”

“Yes.”

***

This is why I love to travel. Travel is my safe space.

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