Travel is an uncontested creator and a silent, whispering destroyer. It has the ability to synthesize and mend the strewn and tattered aspects of an individual’s self, creating a single, cooperative, reflective unit, a ‘whole’, or to bring to surface all of the challenges and subsequent struggles that work to define and shatter one’s character.
It is an entity of blatant contradictions. It is both unifying and alienating, it provides a welcoming place in the hearts of those all over the world, yet displaces you from the relationships, stability, and comforts that were once associated with home. It opens your mind, heart, and soul to new cultures, while making you a foreigner in your own. It is both a willing sacrifice and an incomparable reward.
It is a riddle that can create connections so strong and passionate
that the world and its inhabitants
are reduced to a mere glass marble because you know
that such strong love must counteract physical distance.
That your soul is directly fused by invisible silk strings
of once-shared memories, of secrets, of whispers and laughter,
to those who you have grown to love,
to those who have become your heart and your home.
And that you are holding this marble,
because home is no longer with you and those silk strings
have been cut.
That you still share this love, these memories
but now the world feels larger and you are drowning
because your home and your heart and your self are scattered,
and the silk strings don’t stretch, and you are left midway
one foot in Indonesia and one foot in America,
tied to both but belonging to neither.
I have been living back in the States for three months, but have yet to find the satisfaction of being ‘home’. Home comes in flashes, in glimmers of conversations with friends as we discuss our recent travels and the frustrations of emerging adulthood, it settles into the worn ridges of my sofa as I battle my sister in a game of Crazy Taxi (an obsolete, but wonderfully maniacal driving game for the Dreamcast), it is in the filth and grime of Medan that has permanently seeped into my daily wardrobe, it is in the memories, secrets, and whispers that I share with those half-a-world away, and it is in the invisible silk strings that have left me dangling, halfway here, a bridge between my two selves.