The Inscrutable Weariness of Travel

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The first post of this year on this blog. And it’s in Feb! From a very desultory, travelless year, I have already been to many places this year. And the promise of more. The promise coming from me. I have posts to write from Burma. From Shimoga. And all the little details of my life that I feel compelled to blog about. For the few spammers who take the trouble to spam this blog. 49 spam blocked daily! How about that! I am popular out there in the Spam World! Yoohoo!

Burma is already melting into memories. Good ones. Bad ones. And that’s what brings me to the title of this post: The Inscrutable Weariness of Travel. I was reading this blog from a person who I really admire – having quit her job at an age when I was just about trying to begin one, she has been to more countries than I can dream of. There is a passion to discover the world, break down the barriers to understanding, and a sheer, uninhibited joy of the road in her blog. Today, while reading about her adventures in the Honduras, I was suddenly shaken by a sense of ennui. There was something in this blog that made me turn away from the relentless hopeful view of the world it offers. The magic of travel. The bliss of serendipity. All too often, it sounded like something that you would want to promote. That’s it. Promotional. I am bad at that. I can’t seem to do the good thing that all digital marketers do – shamelessly, unabashedly promote themselves as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Not that I care much for sliced bread. But there it is. I can’t make my life sound beautiful – I can put up a hammock on my terrace, show my laptop, and tell you all “look at my office.” What does that serve? Does that make you feel a tad envious? Let me move the location – here is my hammock, and my laptop there on it, swinging away watching the world float by, while I let you know this is my office. Enticing. Envy, that green monster sits next to me.

So, going back to travel – where is the weariness of travel? There are times when you really had enough of bad buses, and scammy operators, and people trying to rip you off. You don’t want to see the messy underside of humanity’s darkest belly. That’s not what you want to see when you travel. So you talk of the gorgeous mountains. The treks. The call into your deepest soul that some paddy field evokes. The smell of fresh earth. As if you could not smell that in your own garden. The popcorn. The chips. The food. The frolic. The waves that look different from the beach you grew up on. So, you write about all this. But somewhere, I wonder – don’t we tire of it all? I want to write about how wearisome it is to get down at 4AM bleary-eyed from a relentless bone-jarring ride on a bus, and evading swarming taxi drivers, and set out to find guesthouses where owners are more interested in serving the blond, dollar-touting whites – and you stand there, miserable and cold and wondering if this is travel. You bet it is. That is also what travel is. Now, let’s write about the misery. The weariness. Because not all that is beautiful is free of grime.

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