I walked all the way to the shop this morning. All 4 kilometres of it. Which is clearly not much of a feat for anyone. But after a whole night of Lindy hop, and a hell of a lot of talking, and not getting to bed till 2, I couldn’t drag myself out of bed early enough for the walk. Needless to say I was little late — ok, VERY late — to work. But in exchange for that, I saw things I wouldn’t have seen had I been in a car. And it got me thinking, as it always does…
I wouldn’t have smiled as much at passers-by, especially the littlies in their prams, with their little legs constantly kicking upwards, like it’s the only thing that matters, the only thing they’ll ever want to do in this world — kicking their legs and gurgling up spit bubbles.
I wouldn’t have thought much about how people carry themselves, how they walk, how they give way. All unconsciously done but reflects an important part of their personalities.
I wouldn’t have spotted those gorgeous roses in the darkest shade of fuchsia, a colour I’d never seen anywhere else before. Nor those strange plants with the frosty green leaves. Nor tiny birds that emitted the loudest, ear-splitting screech.
I wouldn’t have almost stepped on a heap of dog poo. Almost. Phew.
And then I realised, they were nothing new. It was only because this morning I was looking at them at a different level, at a slower pace, with a more detailed eye. Like with traveling, which to me, is synonymous with “exploring”, there are countless notches on a scale. You can do what I call “grazing” — hop on a plane and do a day in Paris, see the Eiffel and eat some snails. Then hop off again for a day in London, climb on the Eye and walk across the Thames. Then *pop*, here you are in Hanoi, see Ho Guom and buy a silk scarf. Another *pop* and you’re up striding on top of the Great Wall of China.
But you can also spread it out a little more at each place, 3-4 days at least, check out all the touristy spots but still have time to explore a museum here and there, drive around or take public transport, eat at little shops along the streets, learn a few words of the language, remember a few street names.
And then you can spend 10 years in a city and there are still things you haven’t done yet. Like how I haven’t been to Frankston beach, only about 40 mins from our house. Or I’ve been to Sydney a hundred and one times, and actually lived there for 8 months, but have never watched the (supposedly) fabulous New Year’s Eve fireworks.
Also, you can go crazy and start thinking about how aliens would see things, planet-trotting the way they do. (Lots of light? Darkness? Vacuum?) Or what a snail on the road side would notice, trailing a centimetre an hour. (Dust? Bugs? Grass?) But I think I’m getting a little out of hand here. Get back to Earth, girl!
So. It’s your call, really, on how far, or close, you’d like to zoom your lenses, how much you want to see in a place, and in life. For me, at every city I traveled to, I often loved to spend a day just walking around aimlessly. Breathing the air (smoggy and damp in Shanghai, crisp and chilly in Manhattan, grassy and humid in Ninh Binh), hearing the noise (hectic or calm, man-made or natural), watching and listening to the people (sometimes understanding, sometimes not). Oh, and also trying not to get lost… And it’s not like I found out some earth-shattering facts about the place every time, but it was just the experience of being there that is indescribably precious.
Then all of a sudden, I thought it’d probably be nice, too, to have a hand to hold on my walks. Preferably someone with a Sense of Direction. (You’re asking why it’s in capital? Well it’s because I have great respect for those who has an inbuilt navigator in their brain, something I clearly do NOT possess!) But then being the cynic that I am, what if that’d make me spend less time observing human behaviour, admiring natural beauty, and contemplating the ways of life? What if it would instead make me ask myself things like “Why is he so quiet? Have I been yapping too much again?”, or “Why the hell is he ogling, with his jaw all the way near the ground, at that girl sashaying towards us, the one with the massive headlights?!!”, or “What’s for dinner, dammit?”
So well, I guess I’ll have to rethink on that one a little longer. Do you think it’d be worth it? 😉
~t2, but one~
PS: I do spend a lot of time thinking idle deep thoughts, don’t I?
(Tune of the day: “I Can’t Stand Losing You“ ~ The Police.)
Watch that clip and tell me if for some indiscernible reason, Sting reminds you of Cameron Diaz? Must be the mouth. And also, how cute was he?!