Travel bursts the bubble that Trump is trying to create
As usual, it’s taken me a little bit longer to make any sort of sense of what’s going on in the world. And when I say “make sense”, what I really mean is to take some small sliver of the last few months of atrocities and resistance and be able to comment on it in any sort of coherent way.
And for what it’s worth, here’s my attempt at coherent.
Every single human being is worried about themselves. They are the centre of their own universe. That’s the one thing we always have; no matter who stands beside you, no matter where you are in the world, we have our own bodies, minds and spirits.
And yet, as I grow older, spending more and more time on this strange and evasive earth, I have come to understand more and more that we are all one: we are all connected.
Yes, it sounds like a cliché; a thing you hear in yoga class or from your friend who’s been to a weekend retreat and is trying to make you feel better. Well, hi, I’m that friend and I believe it to be true.
Travel brings people from different places in the world and mashes them together in a strange, almost dreamlike reality.
I’ve been struggling with travel for the past little while. I’ve had feelings of guilt (“why should I get to travel when people are suffering and they don’t have the means to travel?”) and have had moments of question (“Why travel? How does it serve the world? Am I just being selfish?”)
The truth is I’ve always felt this way, as long as I’ve been blogging. It’s followed me everywhere in my life: if I don’t feel like I’m serving the planet, the bettering of the world, then I feel a heavy guilt.
Where did this come from? I have no idea. But it’s there, and I’m not sure it will ever go away. However, I have made some discoveries about travel recently and that’s why I’m finally going to come to the point of this article.
Travel gets me out of my bubble and that is necessary.
Fast paced city life, meandering rural life, we all walk around in our own reality, in our own heads: our bubble. Our experiences and our surroundings shape this bubble and it’s inevitable that we all have our own version of it.
Travel bursts the bubble. It could be as simple as getting lost in a new city, or eating something you would never have tried. Or it might be more impactful, like seeing poverty that you never even knew existed. And it is necessary. All of it. And it is necessary over and over again.
Why? Every time I get home from a trip, I go right back to my bubble and slowly, that experience fades away. It never leaves, but it sits in the back of the heart and the mind and doesn’t quite know how to fit into this “normal life”.
I remember coming home from three months in India: my first experience backpacking and being away from home at all. Driving through the streets of Vancouver on a Saturday morning I thought, “Where is everyone?”
It was so quiet, so serene. It seemed like a post-apocalyptic scene from a movie compared to the fast paced, mile-a-minute-5-senses-blaring experience that is India.
But slowly, Vancouver became normal again and there I was: back to work, back to the daily grind, back to reality.
The importance of it is this: you must remind yourself. Remind yourself, when all you’re thinking about is your own life, how to get by, what’s going to happen. Remind yourself that there is something outside the bubble. Travel has a way to doing this.
And this is how travel ties into Trump.
I was in yoga class the other day (see? I told you I was that friend) and my teacher reminded us of the lotus flower. A metaphor used over and over again in yoga, but for good reason. From the mud and the muck, comes the flower. And it cannot exist without the ugly stuff.
As fear, hate and anger swirl underneath the feet of the new President of the United States and his administration, bringing up all the muck that a lot of people didn’t even realize was there, there’s only one way I can think about it.
That it is necessary. It is necessary that from this ugliness comes the breaking through, the light and eventually, the flower.
Ultimately, as we navigate our way through these odd and sometimes heartbreaking times, it’s necessary to burst the bubble. Because there are people with different beliefs, with hate in their hearts, who were not brought up like you. And like it or not, we are all connected.
Fear drives this ugliness; the fear of the unknown. Because when we don’t get to know our neighbour, they are the unknown. They might think differently, live differently, we don’t really know unless we ask, do we?
And it’s this, accompanied with the fear that we’re not enough, that is driving so many of the horrors haunting this world today.
Whenever I travel, the thing I love most and that sticks to me most is despite the differences, the immense ways in which we live our day to day lives differently in different parts of the world, we are all so much the same.
We laugh at the same things, no matter the language. Family is everything, no matter the religion or how it manifests itself. We all want to be loved and to love.
And most of all, we all want to feel connected; to each other, to the planet, to something more meaningful than just our bodies meandering around this odd world we’ve created.
And so, that’s my tiny sliver from where I’m standing at the moment; in my bubble, but looking outwards.