Last Sunday I was on my way to Colombo from Kandy on the 7.40 am intercity bus. It was the middle of a long weekend so the bus was packed with locals visiting relatives (Me, Me, Mee!!) and a few foreign travelers making their way to Colombo. A few minute before the departure time a foreign girl got on to the bus with a “larger than her” backpack. She looked like she has been traveling for a while and my attention drifted towards her in a matter of seconds.. Being a travel addict who is dreaming of the next day when I can pack a backpack and just leave to travel the world, meeting a backpacker is always interesting! She sat down a bit in front of me and settled down for the long ride ahead.. her backpack was quite large so she had to hassle a bit to get it in place (been there, Done that and its harddd!!)..
Just the sight of a well packed backpack ready for world travel is enough to make me go googly eyed!! So I started to build my version of her story in my mind (yap, I know it’s creepy!) – where she must have been, how long she might have been traveling, how far she must have been, how many great places she must have had the chance to be to, all the great things she must have seen all the culture she must have experienced… May be she was traveling the world, May be she was helping out with a volunteer program.. may be she was in a quest to find herself !! Endless possibilities! sigh!!! I was mildly jealous looking at her and seeing my dream life..
A while passed and my attention drifted away to the surroundings that we were passing. I was sitting in a place where I could only clearly see the outside through the window next to her because most other passengers had covered the windows with the curtain to shun the sun light! What a waste of sunlight and great scenery!!
As we were passing the Kadugannawa pass (one of the most scenic points in the journey) I was looking out through the window next to her to catch a glimpse of the Aranayake land slide that is slightly visible from Kadugannawa. Since I was on a hunt to find the green mountain with a large brown patch, the leftovers of a massive natural disaster, I didn’t notice anything different until we passed a dark patch of forest and the only thing I could see was her reflection on the window..
My heart broke in to a million pieces when I saw her face! she was crying ! She was hiding it but the reflection was not doing a great job! The same girl I thought must be on top of the Happy cloud because she was a traveler was crying! I don’t know why, may be she was missing home, May be she was missing a friend, may be she was missing the city she was previously in or may be she was just having a bad day !! Whatever the reason is it broke my heart!!
It made me realize it’s not all unicorns, rainbows and butterflies! There are hard parts, hard days! Difficult moments we have to push through!
Traveling brings some of us so much joy – a sort of a high! We get so intoxicated that we forget about the hard parts of it, the things we have to go through to find the beauty in it!.. Sometimes by the time we get back home we forget all the negative things that we went through because all that is covered with the beauty we saw and felt. That doesn’t mean that there are no lows in the High of travel..!
This may be one of the reasons why they say traveling makes us strong. May be we do find a way to summon our inner peace and find a way to push through, while in the middle of nowhere surrounded by strangers.
Travel addicts are a unique breed of humans, we think different! We act different ! but at the end of the day we are just humans under the spell of human emotions!
The only thing I wanted at that moment was to ask whether she was oky and to give her a hug! Because sometimes that’s all that we need. A hug, an assuring nod or just a smile! But I couldn’t !! Rows of seats were in the way (not to mention the little devil in my head telling me that she might not like the talking or hugging part!!)
Even though I try to cover up what I felt with humor/or what I think is humor while writing this, there are no words to tell you how bad I felt and is feeling that I didn’t do anything to bring a fellow traveler just a bit of comfort. May be my actions might not help her or even bring her comfort. But I wish I could have at least tried!!
So, in the off (OOFFF) chance she is reading this, I’m sorry that I was not able to be a better human being/Traveler and help you even just by a smile .. And I really hope you did find the inner peace you need to enjoy the rest of your travels..
Safe travels and stay strong,