I Would Have Never Guessed

I feel like this more and more often.

I sit in the corner of a small classroom on the third floor of an old unmarked building, located on the corner of two streets with no signs, in a town I didn’t know the name of, in a city I couldn’t pronounce if I tried. I’m in India; I know that much. When my dad tells people his daughter is traveling in India, I wonder what they imagine. I know even my closest friends do not have this particular room in their mind when I tell them I’m visiting a social enterprise. No one does, no one could.

I pull my car over on a tight one-way street somewhere in South Boston. I’ve never seen these roads before. No one knows I’m here, no one could.

A new friend joins me in my pre-furnished apartment in Cochabamba, Bolivia and the humidity makes my hair grow. Half of the world couldn’t find this city on a map; half the world wouldn’t imagine this exact building if you gave them one million tries to do so. No one could.

The back of the salon is saturated with acetone. I’m in East Boston, on the edge of the city, on the edge of the state, on the edge of the U.S. How did I get here? I’m so comfortable. I realize that I’ve never had the image of this place in my head before just now. When I was driving here I had no visual expectation of what the place would look like. How could I?

***

I’m constantly being surprised by the smallest doors, narrowest pathways, tiniest tables, where we end up living our lives. You could be in New York City with millions of other people and still be standing in a place where only 1,000 have ever paused before. It’s entirely possible that no one knows where you are at that exact moment, lost between the buildings or the bushes or the sea and

that is the reason why I travel. That feeling that you and only you exist in that singular moment in time and no one else will ever understand. If you search for it you’ll never find it – it just happens and that’s why it’s amazing. The unexpected, impossible-to-predict moments that make you pause. I’ve never felt more present that I have in those moments.

How could I?

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