I have always considered myself rather good at expressing myself with words.
Blessed with the gift of gab, I have just the right things to say…..whether a witty joke to a friend who has just lost her job or sincere words to a cousin whose heart has been torn to shreds.
But in one painful moment in junior high, I found myself completely out of words.
My homeroom teacher asked me, in front of the entire class, what it was that I fear.
Caught off-guard, I said the one thing that actually terrifies me beyond anything in the world.
“I fear a box,” I said, much to everyone’s surprise.
“Why do you fear it,” the teacher persisted, failing to grasp that at that moment, I shared a part of me that is not known to many, even to myself.
She tried to elicit an answer from me but I totally clammed up. For five minutes, I just stood there, not knowing how to explain a rather peculiar confession from a 15 year-old.
Thirteen years later, I still fear a box. In more honest terms, I fear a cage that will hold me to one place and prevent me from ever stepping into the life I want to live.
Perhaps this deep fear of isolation has been the one driving force that has kept me walking, traveling at full speed, without ever stopping for a moment, away from my starting point.
I have a rather forgettable childhood. A geek by choice, I spent my childhood trying to excel at many things, just to compete for my father’s attention and approval.
Despite my efforts, it was always my eldest sister whom he praised, valued and paraded at every possible opportunity.
I was seen as a far second and was shunned to the darkness of my room during birthdays, family reunions and get-together. My father also didn’t allow me to go on school field trips nor did I receive excess allowance money because for him, I haven’t earned the right.
I was trapped inside my own little world, neither allowed to speak my mind nor visit places that interested me.
I remember vividly, one night during my senior year, in the darkness of the night, I promised myself that there will come a time when nothing and no one could ever hold me back.
This promise sustains me until now.
This promise to not let anything or anyone keep me from moving forward is as strong and binding as it is the day I made it during that one night when my heart was bleeding and could no longer bear the pain.
In the years after my lonely childhood, I have tried to discover new paths, new trails to discover in the hope of finding inner peace and contentment.
I have been to many places in my life and time…some of them your usual dream destinations, some are really off the beaten track.
But while most people consider their travels as postcards of their lives at a given point of time, I consider mine as milestones to achieving self discovery.
I guess I could say that I travel not only to see new places, meet new people, and discover new flavors but to get to know myself even better.
In the chaos of Khao San Road, I feel calm. In the excitement of Pub Street in Central Siem Reap, I see myself clearly.
In the frantic streets of Tokyo, I find myself moving ever so slowly. To the grandeur of Europe, I feel attached.
Many travelers before me have tried to discover the mysteries of wanderlust. They too tried to ask some of the questions I ask.
Why do we travel, what do we get from it? Why do we leave our usual comforts, and hop on a train or plane or horse or elephant?
While most of their answers will land in the pages of your travel magazines, my answers will be trapped in my entries like time capsules….they are honest confessions of my heart at that exact location and exact moment.
No secrets, all raw emotions.
So read on my friends and join me in my path to self discovery.
Please feel free to post your comments and questions.