Thursday, July 17, 2008

Missing Things

It's inevitable, I suppose, that you end up missing things sooner than you thought you would. So here we go, not even a month in, with a list, in no particular order (excluding item 1), of the things I miss.

1. Mom and Dad. Sad but true. I didn't get time to teach my heretofore computer illiterate father how to use skype before I left. I was too busy doing nothing at home, with them, which was of course a task of the utmost importance in the list of things to be done before departure. But just over three weeks later, touchingly, he has not only created a gmail account for himself, which he regularly checks, but learned how to use skype and bought and configured a webcam.

2. My own bed. A bed in a climate that makes you need, and so love, your duvet. It's not a heat thing when you get down to it.

3. Tea. Oceans of tea that I drank like water and didn't appreciate and would give fifty thousand mango fruit shakes for a small measure of now.

4. Coronation Street.

There are others of course, but I'm only really writing these down to get them clear in my head, quantify the void inside that I may know it better and so deal with it properly. It's weird actually, looking at that list, it doesn't seem to encapsulate the sombre feeling you get when you wake up for another consecutive day in a place that seems so alien. Every traveller would love a door that opens into their own bedroom. A half an hour at home, one night, just a cup of tea with friends or family. I've thought about this too, but I think on closer inspection it would be a bad thing. If we had that, if traveling was that ephemeral an activity then we'd open a door unto Bangkok, for example, and decide after half an hour that we didn't like it. And maybe rightly so but even in days like these when traveling such distances takes no more an investment than 14 hours on a plane we're investing something in a place. We can't just flip a switch and be at home. It could be called isolation, like being trapped, but it forces you to look harder and deeper into a place, to find something you like. Something to make you glad you came, something beautiful. And when you find it, it's that bit more beautiful because you've had to search so hard.

Actually the above list, with the exception of item 1, is just stuff, things. It's the feeling of being at home that everybody craves. And maybe you can find that on the road. And when I think about it some of the things I miss the most about home probably aren't there. Maybe they never were.

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