Couple weeks ago, I was asked a question…
“Tell me about a place you feel most safe”…
I was facing a white wall, thinking about it. Then, I closed my eyes trying to envision what place on the planet would feel safe. My mind shifted through polaroid snippets in my imagination, trashed around, looking for that oasis of peace 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, an emotional cage. What used to be pretty or somehow touching in that place – in a very understated way – got washed off by years of unkind memories. So I quickly discarded this specific path.
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. Welcoming. They were home.
“Home” and “safe” did not tie together my head at all.
Then, my mind veered towards the warmth.. where I used to be safe: my partner’s embrace. His smell… the gentle touch of his skin… the paradise of sensory information that was telling me, this was 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.
Until it was not anymore. The orange sun set, laying down a grey shadow path.
“I know about this. But try telling me about your safe space, when you are on your own”, came a gentle encouragement pulling me out of that memory, “close your eyes, think about it and paint me a painting with words..”
I started to tell him, I have no words to bring the colors to life. In my mind, I was looking around, finding 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 place that feels safe. This is the only place that has ever felt safe to me. I cherish this absolute moment of relaxation, and letting go – as soon as I sit down in a bus, train or a car and it gets moving… The road head. The moving horizon. Shifting views. Where the only thing that I know for sure is my presence. Everything is new and can change at any moment, but I can trust my mind, my soul to bring me the true essence of the experience, seeping into the world that keeps on moving … This has always been my safe space, 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.”
“So your safe space is a bus.”
This is why I love to travel. Travel is my safe space.