June 9, 2007

Day 146 :: Breakıng Points

Day 146 - Istanbul

"This is the road we're talking about. Strange new friends. Adventures every ten minutes. Waking up each morning feeling like a wild animal. No crappy rules or smothering obligations." Douglas Coupland, Miss Wyoming

This is all true of course. Every last sentence of it. The road is as magical and unforgettable as a boy seeing his first naked woman. It sucks you in with magnetic like pull and almost always leave you wanting more. That is, unless you stay on the road so long that THE road turns into A road.

An endless, mundane and repetitive path that goes round and round, making the same stops but disguising them with different names. Pokhara. Yangshua. Manali. Chiang Mai. Before long, as in two or five or seven months, the magical idea of the road begins to loose it's ability to enchant.

For example(s):

When do strange friends become the countless people you exchange email adresses with only to throw them away two weeks later? Friendships that always start with the same boring conversation:

"So, where are you from?"
"The States."
"How long have you been traveling for?"
"Almost five months."
"Where have you been?"
"China. Southeast Asia. Blah. Blah. India. So where are you from?"
"England. Israel. France. Australia. Norway."

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It's like being a freshman in college again.

How long can one cope with an "adventure every ten minutes" when it involves pissing on yourself in the dark, going from sickness to sickness and enduring ten days straight of monsoon rains? The adventures begin to get old, running into each other with near perfect duplicity. Another temple. Another mountain. Another bus. Another beggar with no feet.

When does the 'wild animal' that is supposed to be as free as a lion begin to feel as lathargic as a turtle?

How long does it take for the traveler to actually long for "crappy rules" like traffic lanes, pollution regulations and transportation efficiency? Or when do "obligations" like going to work, buyıng grocieries or driving a car go from smothering to life giving?

After five months on the magical road, we have hit our first breaking point, and surely not our last. The final one will eventually send us home. This first one will just send us to Turkey, where for us, East will give way to West.

It's about time.

This is where we ventured in Indıa - our maın concern was avoiding the Monsoon rains, which is why we primarily stayed up North at the Hill Stations.


Andrea said...

well written, Josh. You're a good writer!

There is a level of adventure in the depth that perhaps only longevity can bring.

Anonymous said...

I can feel your road-weariness, and am glad for you that you'll be spending time in some more familiar circumstances. (The phrase "everything is relative" has never been more appropriate than now, as I draw the comparison between California and Istanbul.) I check your blog often, and I love reading about what you guys are up to. Enjoy Turkey, I hear it's beautiful.


pk said...

Everything is clean compared to India. In some ways everything is dull compared to India.

I hope you guys are loving it in almost Europe.

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