Recent changes in my work commitments have meant big compromises have had to be made in terms of my first passion, travel.
There's a few of my friends who ask what the draw is, (travel that is, not work) to give up well paid work, the comfort of a comfortable apartment, convenient shops and entertainment on my doorstep and all that is familiar in my neighbourhood. When I am travelling and discovering new cultures, I know I embrace all the cliches such as freedom, the open road etc, and I find it certainly facilitates letting go of the past and look to the future. But it's a tricky one to explain, as is any choice we make in things that affect our lives.
As a film maker I like to observe people and quietly ask myself questions about them, the answers influenced by what I observe.
For example, I am continually fascinated by the fashions people wear. The businesswoman who wears a hybrid of clothes that are neither masculine nor feminine, the fear possibly being that if she expresses either preference it could be detrimental to her progression.
The man who wears an Hawaiian shirt as if to say, "hey I'm colourful and outgoing, not at all boring", and goes home to feed his cat in an empty apartment. Contrast this with the man dressed head to foot in beige. Maybe he's saying, "I have everything I want, I'm happy with who I am, and I care not for fashion statements".
Or the man who wears a hoody, trousers that stop half way down the calf, ankle socks and trendy trainers. Not out of place on an early twenty something, but on a 50 year old? But then who says there are rules? Maybe he doesn't want to accept his advancing years, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Then there's the cyclist is his skin-tight Team Sky lycra top, hoping that those glances from people he whizzes by, are thinking, "hey, there's one of those super-athletes from the Tour de France", but his grey hair, wheezing and sore joints betray him.
But it's not just fashion. We make choices in many things that we decide to "wear," from friends, to where we live, to the type of job we have. They are choices influenced by many factors, and it takes more than my casual, one-sided observations to know what they are.
And so it is with my "travel bug". It's hard to explain, but in one way nicely summed up in this short verse by Kahill Gibran, a Lebanese artist, poet and writer in the late 1800s:
My house says to me, “Do not leave me,
for here dwells your past.”
And the road says to me, “Come and follow me,
for I am your future.”
And I say to both my house and the road,
“I have no past, nor have I a future".
If I stay here, there is a going in my staying;
and if I go there is a staying in my going.
I would add that if the desire to take that road grabs you, do not ignore it. There will always be reasons why not to, and life is not a rehearsal, as they say.
I may not be in a position to travel again yet, but I will, and when I do I will follow that road again into the future.