The Pain of Travelling

“I said: what about my eyes?
He said: Keep them on the road.
I said: What about my passion?
He said: Keep it burning.
I said: What about my heart?
He said: Tell me what you hold inside it?
I said: Pain and sorrow.
He said: Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
― Rumi

It generally begins with excitement. Of course there are some nerves, but the thought of the imminent and drastic change that travelling offers is riveting. New people, places and cultural norms - there’s endless scope for exploration. 

Departure is near, and there’s a shift. A lot comes up. It hits you, the fact that you are parting ways with the safety of familiarity. You might be leaving behind people that you care for. If you’ve travelled before, you might already be looking ahead to the pain of the return trip that you’ve endured so many times already.

I don’t tend to miss home or the people there - part of me believes it will always be waiting for my return, however long it takes. It has been the case thus far. It hurts to see others hurting over your absence, but that’s something we get used to.

Arriving is a thrilling experience. Nothing’s perfect - it never is. But you’re free, you’re proud and there’s opportunity at every corner. It’s overwhelming at times. Routine shifts, or maybe it’s non existent. You might suffer for lack of home, or you might thrive in this strange land that you’ve arrived in. I like the unfamiliarity. Adventure awaits. 

It’s hard to know exactly what it is that makes the travelling experience so unique. Maybe it’s not any one thing, but an amalgamation of it all. There’s a lot of variety… it’s like discovering new ingredients and then all of a sudden your previously bland dinner starts to taste incredibly awesome. You unravel yourself, day by day your potential is closer to being fulfilled.

I don’t ever feel particularly at home where I’m from. My most joyous times have always been when away. I feel more understood. It’s effortless to be honest, to be authentic. Travelling folk often have that same tendency. I think it takes courage to step into the unknown. Evading safety presents opportunity for growth. We learn to truly be. 

You are delighted, awestricken, absolute… and now it’s almost over. You’ve said your goodbyes; to the people you’ve gotten to know so well and the places you’ve come to love. All there is left to do is leave. Whether you’re going home or moving on to another unfamiliar destination - it doesn’t matter all that much. This part still hurts. It’s hard to make sense of it. It’s sort of overwhelming. Sad to go, afraid of what’s to come and delighted to have been.

There’s warmth for the experience had but you cripple at the thought of the conclusion. You might wish you had stuck with that job you hated, for it would have allowed you to stay a little longer… and if only you had married that person, you could have immigrated!  Returning home is hard, something I have yet to look forward to. 

In little more than a moment, the life you’ve come to realize, seems to vanish. All of the growth is worthless, as you’re tossed back into the cocoon from which you had escaped, the beautiful wings which have kept you soaring now restricted. The questions you were sick of hearing when you left are still being asked, your old clothes don’t fit and are they even speaking the same language?

I am soon to board this plane. Waiting, being, feeling. Loving all that arises for I know there is no other way. Through tears I breathe.  Patience, trust and acceptance form the remedy, for I know resistance serves no purpose here. I welcome uncertainty. I wonder how life will be, surrendering to the fact I can never truly know. I sit and I wait, come what may, for I know there is no other way.


David Boland