It might seem like a oxymoron but it’s often when I travel and found myself in strange lands that I feel I belong to something.
When I go through the arrivals gate, I always find the same expectant faces. Wide eyes carefully skipping from one face to the other. The smile bright smiles suddenly emerging in someone else’s faces. The same bright eyes of emotional mums. The open arms ready to receive someone they have missed. The tight embraces.
Doesn’t really matter where you land. The country, the city, the culture, the ethnicity, colour of skin, shape of the eyes.
Anywhere in the world, in a sunny day, you will also find people outside. Drawn to the sun. Drawn to the light. And why are we so drawn to water as well? Take us to the ocean, to the riverside. To feed the ducks by the lake. Where in the world have you been where this doesn’t happen? I recall my first afternoon in Morocco, Casablanca. Seeing these kids playing the in beach, jumping from rock to rock, skipping the little soft waves delivered kindly on land by sea, allowing its salty waters to caress their tiny, dirty feet. The same scene I could have lived at home. Anywhere really.
And don’t we all look above us at the sky and wish we could fly? Don’t we all at some point feel small when looking at the moon and stars at night. No matter where we were born or raised. No matter the colour of our skin, or the shape of our eyes.
It’s almost magical, whimsical. How we are from so many different places, educated in so many different ways. And yet there is something deeper, instinct perhaps, something that can trace us all to a common origin, that unites us.
And let’s think about how we all, in different corners of the world, tried to make sense of live and searched for its meaning. How come so many different religions, beliefs, born and developed in completely different places with no possibile communication between them, came to share as well so many similarities? Starting with the fact of all searching for that meaning. And always finding it by believing in the existence of a higher power and/or a better destiny for us all.
And isn’t it fantastic how art runs in the veins of humans anywhere you go? How it became the way of expressing the “inexpressible” with human beings anywhere? Can you name a place, a community, a culture where art isn’t present? Have you not felt the unity there is in a concert? The disappearance of differences when facing a masterpiece in a museum? We all see things differently. But deep down we feel the same. Have the same instincts. And have thoroughly nurtured them since our very existence.
And amongst other reasons, this is why to travel is to feel human, part of something. Call it a contradiction, but I guess finding strange places is the only way I have of finding home.