some ramblings on travel and companions

one does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore.” -andre jide

some people are crippled or hampered by fear of the unknown, especially when it comes to traveling. and maybe especially so in a place like east-africa with nothing more than a backpack, travel guide, minimal local language, only a vague travel itinerary, and a few shillings in ones pocket…

“the border means more than a custom house, a passport officer, a man with a gun. over there everything is going to be different; life is never going to be the same again after your passport has been stamped.” -grahm greene

i remember when i came home from my first international trip, (i was 16? 17?) and seeing my parents. i don’t remember if it was the first thing that my mom said, but it was one of the first, but this comment struck a chord, and continues to to when i think about traveling: “you look different.” and i said, “how so?” “i don’t know… you just look different.”

i had been changed. life was never going to be the same again.

it was europe. it was during a summer holiday (10 whole days) and it was with a large group of students from my high school and our chaperones. but i was forever changed by this little jaunt to england, ireland, scotland and wales. i had the travel bug. and this travel bug became travel-sickness which has ripened over the past 10 years ( into an incurable wanderlust leading me around the world and into interesting places.

one of my favorite benefits from this wander-lusting are people.
the people i travel with. the people we meet. (fellow travelers… the people whose places we are visiting for whatever reason) the people i observe. (massive tourist groups fascinate me in a i-want-to-study-you-anthropologically/sociologically kind of way…)

if you want to walk fast, go alone. if you want to walk far, go together. -african proverb

as an introvert, i sometimes like to travel alone.
as a lover of people and friends and relationships, sometimes i like to travel with friends.

however, i have found, that even when i travel alone–those connections of walking together are made.
a shared cab from the airport with a fellow backpacker…
a shared breakfast at the hostel with a new friend…
shared confusion over where to stand in line for the ferry…
conversations start–relationships are formed
blog address/facebook names exchanged.

come walk with us the journey is long – hymn

traveling with friends always does something interesting to the friendship.
you see a side of the person that perhaps you hadn’t before–or, if nothing else, you are exposed to the realities of the real person for longer periods of time than one would in a day-to-day interaction.

i have been lucky.
my travel companions over the years–be they old friends by the time the journey starts, or new-friends-that-feel-like-old-friends by the end of the journey–have been. well. wonderful.
i’ve never had to fight for sharing the guidebook.
never traveled with someone i didn’t trust with my belongings or my life. (a real consideration in some of my travels.)

AND i have always wanted to remain friends with whomever i had traveled with.

there really is just something about traveling together. (figuratively and literally.)

…because friendship is genuine only when you bind fast together people who cleave to [god] through the charity poured abroad in our hearts by the holy spirit who is given to us. -saint augstine:the confessions [58]


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