when i first left to travel the world i was embraced by a notion that we are living in a very global time of our history. it was the dawning of the time of social media and even though it was still a bit of a joke it still provided a way for us to keep in touch with our friends back home and share pictures of our travels. it has always tickled me that we live in a time that we can travel to the other side of the planet and somehow feel so close. not even that long ago there was a time when a goodbye was truly a goodbye.
i met a man last night who must be pushing his mid 70's. he was extremely well-traveled and he had done most of his travels in the golden age of what people have dubbed the 'hippy trail'. this lesser-known notion is something like a path between central europe and far east asia. it passed through afghanistan, a place which was once a hot spot for the exotic-seeking traveler, and went all the way into central nepal. he collected his memories through slides and now some forty years later i found myself next to him at a table somewhere in the corners of buenos aires.
perhaps a part of me was jealous of him. what was it he was out searching for? did he ever find it? so easily i think of past generations and form ideas from the photos they have left behind and i fail to see them as people but rather as characters in books. there was once a time when a photograph was a commitment and actually something tangible. perhaps his photos were like that too. travels are (in my opinion) much different than the photos we take of them. travels exist in the stories we live to share with others. travels are the breaking of bread and the pouring of wine at a table with people we've just met but somehow have become our best friends.
maybe i was born in the wrong time. i wonder if i would have the courage to wander away if it was questionable that i'd ever come back. globalism has provided me with an oportunity to wander the planet as if i had an infinite pass to go wherever i please. the fact is that i dont own this planet, i'm simply a glitch in the system. i've been to so many places that i am beginning to overlook some amazing adventures and take for granted how lucky i've been but i will continue to live and learn just as i have from the beginning. and i am thankful.. for some reason i'm blessed and i know the dangers of not embracing your blessings.
i do worry a lot about the progress we are making as a species. we live in an extremely global world where we can rarely (almost never) consume anything that hasn't traveled around the world more than the explorers of the ancient world could ever imagine. we are burning through our natural resources at an extremely alarming rate and the population of our planet is spinning out of control. i often wonder if we will remember this period of our history as short-sighted and indulgent, but i dont write to complain or raise worry, i look to the same silly solutions that anyone else could come up with and i say that maybe i should just run away and go start a farm somewhere - and the idea isn't that unappealing. maybe i'm the last of a long line of travelers on planet earth at that final era before the system has become unsustainable for global exploration. i hope not. i've found a lot of joy and love in this world and i've done so by exploring it to its fullest. i wish that love and experience on everyone.