To me it doesn’t necessarily mean a physicalplace, but it can I think it can be anything that gives oneinner peace, a sense of comfort and grounding It can be different things to different people I don’t feel at home anywhere.
Maybe it’s because I left everything, Iknew in pursuit of something unknown I left India when I was 20 and moved to Canada Ever since that I’ve always felt like anomad Just moving around I’ve been hungry and homeless I’ve considered suicide Travelled to a remote North Canadian Arctictown, adventures through Southeast Asia, lived in a small town in Southern China, met goodpeople all over the world, very few, slightly less than good, at least at the time whenI met them Times changed Perspectives changed Life is stable now But I still don’t feel at home My friend once told me, home, for some peoplemight not always be a physical place It could be an internal space, or even a person I do access that place once in a while whenI am completely in the moment The film you see is also made when I was fully immersed in that moment no thoughts, no distractions Maybe that’s why I love travelling When you are in a routine, day in and dayout, your mind goes on an auto pilot mode But when you travel, you encounter new things, new people, new challenges, that forces you to be present It becomes easier to stay in the moment I am not talking about a vacation, where youlounge around and do absolutely nothing.
They are undeniably pleasant and needed, attimes too but the kind of travelling I am talking about is where you are out in the real world, even going to a part of your own city, you haven’t been to, or taking a busroute you haven’t taken, maybe moving to a new country where you don’t know the languageand you are forced to communicate in a sign language Moments where everything else is strippedoff in an encounter except for each other’s humanity But such moments, come with certain confrontations Maybe that’s another reason why I love roamingaround.
Confronting yourself leads to knowing yourself You are shown exactly who you are and whatkind of biases and conditionings you have Many a times, things are casually presentedto you, things that are completely opposite to what you know as true These uncomfortable situations show you whoyou really are I live in a quiet town in Southern China.
The experience you see are my travels fromChina to Vietnam and Thailand, in the height of this crisis Actually, I didn’t know about ituntil I boarded my flight This unique situation provided confrontationsand conflicts within myself, that helped reveal a part of me that I didn’t know exist As human beings, I feel like we are an extremelycautious bunch Extreme caution many a times morphs into thisunfounded fear When I lived in Canada, I’ve encountereda lot of these cautious people Afraid of talking to one another, afraid ofa friendly hi, afraid to smile, afraid of a new person, afraid of a new culture, afraidof asking ‘can we be friends’, afraid of asking someone out, afraid of the unknownand stepping out of one’s own comfort zone in general I am guilty of this myself But I’d like to think it has changed a littlebit There is this incredible quote from FrankHebert’s 1965 Science Fiction epic novel Dune “I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings totalobliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and throughme.
And when it has gone past I will turn theinner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
” But to attain this state, I find, it is noteasy But the confrontations and conflicts providedby travelling far and wide helps out quite a bit When walking through a market, in a very smalltown, in an unknown country, where you don’t understand a single word spoken, nor the storesigns Now, that makes you act despite of thefear That makes you alert, and face enough of thosesituations, you realize that people are people, regardless of where they are More often than not, we all want to get throughthe day peacefully, bring food to the table, survive another day, and if possible, makemeaningful connections along the way I was standing in the middle of this desertedstreet, in this small town in Vietnam Apart from the distant singing somewhere inthe night and the ominous car in front of me, there was nothing else going on.
Everything in my instinct was telling me toget out of this street.
But I find that instinct and conditional fearof unknown, has only the slightest of difference But when I breathed in and out, and lookedaround, I realized that it actually is a nice residential street People were watching TV inside their houses, children were playing inside, and I realized that it was my fear of unknown and not myinstinct.
But don’t get me wrong.
Travelling and living in a foreign place isoften lonely and alienating There were countless nights, when I’d wakeup in the middle of the night, stand in my balcony, looking out into the night, lookingat all the sleepy apartments, empty streets and closed shops, wondering, what am I doingwith my life, wondering what could have been if I had never left home But the reward far outweighs these occasionaldiscomforts, at least in my case The suffering, the travels, the late nights, the heartbreaks, the missed trains, the people I met during this past decade, shaped me intowho I am today And with that, I can honestly say, I haveno regrets I am very aware of the fact that I haven’tfound my home yet.
Probably I never will But lately I’ve been enjoying this verysearch for home This journey towards my home is proving to be much more fulfilling than the promise of being there someday.