The paradox of a conflicted nomad

2019-11-07 @Travel

Is all that transport really that painful? Must the logistics be so nightmarishly vexing? Here I often play the cynic.

The conundrum challenges not only the concept of travel but the traveller. Someone of my kind traverses great distance to settle at a new coordinate, attending to whatever craft we attend to (provided the location-independent means of craftsmanship), entertaining hobbies, engaging the social engagements, speaking the locally spoken language, consuming the local consumables.

Nothing extravagant? Humble living? It’s a sort of life today’s world affords. Natural to me, to another it’s anything but.

I don’t feel strong cultural ties or attachment to roots. Others feel enormous attachment. I handle long periods of isolation with relative ease, when productive. I find nothing extraordinary speaking one language today and another tomorrow. Transacting in one currency today, another the day after. One kiss on the cheek this month, two the next. Another identifies with one village, one community, one set of precepts.

That too is a perfectly acceptable outlook. But are the whereabouts not another abstraction, as to the flock of birds whose migratory paradigm shapes the natural existence?

I don’t really consider travel the months-long, nearly immobile stay at diverse landscapes. Only the sporadic movement between A and B satisfies the definition. Though on an exceptional basis I still pursue the shorter, more active five to fourteen-day trips closer resembling the traditional practice.

Some of the more authentic drifts embody uttermost chaos. Others, a mere nagging pain in the ass. Not that I’ve not exercised a stoic demeanor to better handle like situations. To avoid sensitivity to certain physical discomfort. To mind the moment. But to what extent?

What sort of an engaging narrative makes a fourteen-hour nighttime layover at San Salvador, contained to a terminal gate of steel armchairs and interrogatory lighting, passport held hostage by immigration?

Ultra-lengthy layovers and untimely logistics have become almost fashionable. The arrival at the Phnom Penh airport hours before the grand opening? (Some airports shut their doors.) All-night wanderings through air-conditioned terminals. Early morning arrivals at obscure hotels. Aimless neighborhood perambulations before check-in. Ludicrous airline fees for failure to conduct an online check-in. Folly in presence of metro ticket validators.

Not quiet the anticipated suspense? No trace of catastrophe? Perhaps.

I suppose most logistical arrangements have passed uneventful or sometimes even unexpectedly pleasant. An all expense paid extended stay in consequence of a missed flight. A serendipitous encounter. And travelling with a sole backpack I once hopped on a city shared bike next to the bus station immediately upon arrival. A concerned Toronto citizen shouted in my direction for not wearing a helmet. That I consider rock star travel material.

Alas, the pesky moments seem to better impart. Perhaps they shape a stronger being? Or at least a stronger child. I often feel like an overgrown child.

The precariousness sometimes jolts me. I fantasize on the prospect of seamless teleportation from A to B, a yearning to eliminate the few remaining scraps of authentic travel! A paradox? A digital nomad skeptical of travel? A nomad who prefers to merely occupy footprints and conduct nomadic affairs? A nomad with a propensity to avoid that movement one associates with the lifestyle?

Questions, comments? Connect.