Yeah man, I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to be here. Rule breaker. Travel rebel. My friend Jason would be proud I think. Only minutes from my guest house, but off the main road nevertheless. I’m happy. Barely anyone is here wandering through rice paddies, climbing rocks, in the mid day heat.
For sunset sure. For sunset they will pack their provisions, buy chai from children and “chill” boulder high smoking mediocre weed and singing poorly, but with all their hearts, songs by Dylan and Bono and John. Today I can see where they played last night. Plastic and ash. Litter for the goats. It paints the landscape like some graffiti stains walls. Maybe one day we’ll be banned from here like we are from entering the Lotus Mahal which has the marks of forbidden lovers I can only imagine are like those that span Chamundhi Hill.
“What are you searching for?” asked the Israeli boy matter-of-factly. He was twenty two, really not such a child post three year army term. I tried not to be one of those thirty-three year olds who calls a twenty-two year old a boy, but it was hard. I forgave myself, remembering all the thirty three year olds I also called boys.
“I’m not searching for anything,” I said. And it was true.
Sure, searching never ends, or life ends. Yearning, learning, beginner mindset are all daily mantras I hold dear, but I’m not on a quest here.
He was looking for a girlfriend. He told me. An Israeli girl or maybe an American Jew. Was I Jewish? Yes. He could tell by my nose. The other wanted me to stand to see some defining Israeli characteristic that was clearly below belt. I declined and sadly never did find out which quality of which part makes Jewess.
They seemed like best of friends. I imagined them going to war together, vowing to take Hampi and Goa and where ever else Israeli’s go as soon as they got out, but when I inquired I found they’d met last week.Travel does that though. It binds people together, especially people seeking themselves but really seeking another. Am I wrong? I’m proposing.
I was always an outsider looking in. Though lately I’ll have an experience. Lately I’ll try groups, immerse, bond, play, etc. So many people smarter than I have said we humans are social creatures. Not meant to be alone. Some calling solitude an illness. That, I’m not sure. Somewhere there’s always a balance. Somewhere always two opposites are true. (That’s another blog, a favorite topic of mine.)
For this blog I’ll conclude like this: Travel is lovely. Quite time is good. So is talking to people. I hope every traveler finds her way. I think broken hearts are mended on river boats and rice paddies. Nature is a real healer. The quiet way she softens. The shocking way she clears. If there’s any nature left I’m sure we’ll always be healed.