I have come to regard travelling as one of my life’s primary goals. Lately, I have been reading a lot of materials(online articles, some classify themselves as listicles) which in fact regard travel and experience and a handy cocktail of the two as a great virtue to be cultivated in the life of the modern man and woman. These so called listicles have a tendency, a tendency to overstate the importance of whatever they think is the most suitable way of living life. These numerous articles, written by numerous staff writers usually lack consistency in propagating a uniform lifestyle. Most of these testicular palaver usually eggs people on to break the traditional barriers and considers rebellion as the true order. I find the nincompoops who come up with this stuff, extremely caustic. Yes, I agree that the way people live in and treat this world is not the most optimum or superior, compared to the lives, humans have led for the last 5000 years. We may have better technology or better connectivity or a sharper grasp over our surroundings, but we are still that much nearer to apocalypse than we have ever been. However, the horse crap packaged as the new mantra and sought to be forced down our throats is not helping anyone. Consider a situation where a person leaves his entire life in the fray, and travels with the sheer purpose of ticking places off his big checklist. The obvious problems with such an endeavor are monetary, social and psychological. One cannot and most certainly should not as disruptive as to shirk his responsibility towards the family, society and foremost, towards oneself, to run away from civilization.
We are all stuck somewhere. Some of us in the quicksand of 21st century job market, some of us in the throes of wantonness and most of us, in the placidity and stupidity of our decrepit culture. However, the salvation does not lie in running away from your problems, but finding a suitable method to correct the course of our culture and progress. Lets take for example, the problem of choice that all of us have to face, every single day since the dawn of consciousness and for the difficult and easy days yet to come. Every day we get up and take a decision that in most cases, deducts a little part of our personality from our true selves and puts us on the path of compromise. We choose to compromise on our dream of becoming writers, artists, so on and so forth, for the sake of our family and for the sake of survival. Now the answer to that problem is not and cannot be an escapist’s answer. Suicide, abandonment or “I don’t frigging care what happens to me!” are not going to solve anything, for in your wake, you leave a trail of an unhappy family, children with dysfunctional coping mechanisms and disrupted lives as well as you ruin any chances of reintegrating yourself into the society whose safety and security you obviously need. What is the answer we are looking for then? Optimization as well as finding ingenious ways to integrate your life goals in your public, social, familial and private life can be a good way to move forward. Most of us, by the time we are 30, turns into onions of pessimism. Onions? I say onions because, the pessimism we exhibit has layers, so many that sometimes one starts to love the pathos and the regressive bent of our psyche, encouraged by the gradual decline into depression. If you do like travelling, or writing, and you are stuck in a back breaking job with a meager salaries, chances are that you might not be able to realize your dream ever. But that is the start of our failure, isn’t it? Not everyone may be equipped to be a genius rockstar entrepreneur. However, I definitely believe that most of us, in our lifetimes, work at a level much below our actual capacity. It is within our hands, to find a way out of our back-breaking jobs to something more suited to our different intellectual capacities and more in line with our life goals. Many of us will be hindered by social, familial and financial problems, but that is why we have coined the terms patience and perseverance. If listicles should teach us anything, it should be to stay strong and find a solution to our worsening life situation, then suggest quixotic remedies like travelling or hacking real life at the altar of experience.
Travelling may be a great virtue. God knows that I yearn to travel. Even the name of blog is dedicated to one of the most prolific traveller/authors of India, Rahul Sankrityayan. I do am struck by wanderlust. However, such a wanderlust cannot compensate for the experience and the beauty of real life, in all its nightmarish and magnificent relish. Travelling, merely for gaining experience cannot be an ideal in itself. Travelling serves a greater purpose. It helps build character and personality. However, if such character is never put in the furnace of real life, beaten and battered, it will never turn into the much enviable gold we long for. If the purpose of travel is to find oneself, it cannot be undertaken by exhibiting derision and scorn for those who choose the more difficult path in life and struggle in order to survive. The way you find yourself through a struggle is incomparable and taller in stature to any life experience. However, I do not espouse endless suffering. I do think that one has to learn to manage one’s expectation but not at the cost of one’s dreams. The future needs brave people to come up with brave solutions to life’s hardships. And so do we. We need to be brave for the sake of our dreams, and being brave means, we take the challenge of survival and living simultaneously and excel multifariously.
I have often been troubled by the directionless nature of my life. Several of these last few years have been spent complaining about the Kafkaesque nature of my higher education nightmare as well the terrible onslaught of the real world coupled with the growing demand of growing up. For years, I have refused to grow up and yearned for a life where everything were easier and in the nature of a lavish and sumptuous banquet solely for our consumption or wastage. Well, I must confess that I have been nothing short of a big baby. It is not supposed to be easy. That is the whole point of life, indeed it is. If it were easier to get anything, would it really be worth savoring. I, with my incessant complaining have often lost sight of what I really wanted to do, taken a detour so far off my destination that in a few cases, the return is well-nigh improbable. But, there is a productive side to being a big baby. I don’t give up that easy and I never give up hope. A perpetual optimist, I am choosing to come my sense with every passing day and rebuilding my life from the rabble of neglect and despair that it has come to be. If you ask me, I would say I regret nothing. But in truth there is one thing that I do regret. I regret having complained for so long and without reason. I should and as should you, remember that the day we stop evolving is the day we die.
“…whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.”
– Max Ehrmann “Desiderata” (1927)