Departures

I hate departures.

They always seem to fill me with anxiety.

The anxiety of not knowing what will happen. Whether I will make it to the bus station or not, or miss the aeroplane, or (god forbid), die in a bus crash (very likely in Peru), or (even worse), have a stomach upset on board the buses because, it don’t matter how comfortable the ‘Super VIP Cama Bus Service’ is – the toilets will still be filthy!

I hate departures. I hate the fact that the waiting; be it waiting for the bus to depart at 5pm, or waiting at the airport, or waiting even in the hotel lobby – feels like purgatory. A non-space, an interval, a white empty nothingness, in-between the serious bits of life.

Waiting is like the white foam that comes with your new television.

Why can’t the waiting be part of the main course of life? Why can’t I relax? I am trying to read a book on ‘self-deception’ (‘we’ve evolved self deception better to deceive others’ it say´s) – and I can’t concentrate on it! The topic is too weighty. Too dense. So I flick through my Kindle looking for ‘lighter’ reading material. I find something, but then my mind wanders. What will they serve me on the bus tonight I wonder (for I am heading to Lima). Should I have a heavy lunch? Or grab something light? Will the hotel in Lima honour my reservation? (of course they bloody will!). Should I grab a taxi from the bus station in Lima (and risk being robbed) or get the hotel driver to pick me up for a suitably large sum of money?

Choices! Choices! Choices – so many choices! The world full of choices. The world one BIG FAT choice! Decisions – decisions – decisions…

So tell me, how much of travel consists of crappy filler-time? How much of travel is made up of In-between spaces, non-places of the mind, worrying, anxious, biting the nails, making choices, making decisions.

You don’t think about all this stuff before you set off on your adventure do you? Ahead of you lies one vast beautiful scintillating ocean of adventure, but the truth is, that as you are sitting in that wonderful restaurant in Arequipa (the one you saw on the internet page in London or in the travel brochure), the  things you feel at that moment in that restaurant, are not the things you thought you’d feel when you were in London. You feel anxious. Anxious about a whole assortment of things, because…the only person you have to talk to, in this restaurant, is yourself. And you can be an anxious person! If only, you had another body in front of you. They – this other body – would not be anxious! Well, even if they were – how would you know? It’s not as if you can read their mind now is it. But you can read your own mind, and your mind is an anxious beast.

I hate departures. Tonight I take the bus to Lima, and then the day after, I will be boarding a plane to France, and then to London. Yes, I am coming home!

I want to come home, I have my reasons – but let’s just say – I am excited about coming home. Ah! to be back in a world I am familiar with. To be able to speak in complete sentences – to have conversations! Ah! Conversations – I miss those. I seem to have forgotten what they taste like. Its been a while since I had my last real conversation and I am looking forward to these like one looks forward to a juicy steak.

I am looking forward to the chaos of London. I am looking forward to the fact that nobody will stare at me in London (well I hope not anyway). Yes, nobody will stare at me like they do here: Those ‘where is he from?’ stares. I am not a member of a zoo. Nor am I a new species unknown to science. I am human. Simply human (with a few quirks and dents – aren’t we all), and my name is er, what is my name? Oh yes: Wasim. No need to spell out my name anymore or for people to give up when I utter it – because LondonTown is a motley patchwork of peoples and names.

Home! Ah, home-sweet-home!

You might find this funny (or alternatively crazy), but I sometimes find myself staring at my plane ticket and smiling. My ticket out of here! Please don’t get me wrong. It’s been a wonderful experience and I have met some cool people (you know who you are so no names) – not as cool as me obviously, but – when you start visiting the BBC News website and spend hours looking at the UK news, when the sound of English accents makes you go all gooey inside, then it is time. Time to come back home to the people who love you (or say they do!).

So yes – this is it! The end of A adventure – but not THE adventure. Thanks for following me on this adventure. I apologise for the hardships you´ve had to enure. I know, I know – it´s been tough. But those scintillating moments – here and there – have made this trip worthwhile methinks. I know there are a whole bunch of regular visitors to this site – most of whom I don’t know. I hope you have enjoyed the pictures and the scribbling’s and what else. It’s been a great trip. It feels much longer to me than it probably does to you.

This site will continue. They’ll be pictures of London – but probably, more writing. The adventures of Padre Omassi will also continue – hopefully I’ll be able to find the necessary inspiration.

You know I have no idea where the story will lead.

I’m just making it up as I go along.

Aren’t we all…

Chao!

And see you in London!

p.s: Oh yes. I almost forgot. Some travel wisdom. What have I learnt or what do I take back with me from this trip, that I didn´t have with me before I left? Many things – but foremost, is the feeling, that for most people life is a weighty affair. I see it everywhere in the way they walk. Heavy, cumbersome and uncertain steps which speak of countless anxieties and worries and woes. People are ground-down by life, as if life is something that will last forever. As if there is such a thing as permanance and predictability and certainty. Why do we toil so much when in the end our lives will blow away in the breeze like wheat stalks? If we accept and embrace the inherent ephemereality and lightness of existence, then our problems too, will take on this same form. Lightness.

Wise words from a wise yogi master indeed.

Fuck! I better not miss that bus this afternoon. I´m outta here!

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