Caffiene Induced Musings
Excerpt from my journal: January 18, 2013
I'm sitting on a plastic chair, with my arms on the yellow table cloth that is trying to lend the plastic table some sophistication. Club 21. The French Club - the French Embassy. It is my first time here.
Crossing through security to enter the Diplomatic Enclave (the part of the city where all foreign Embassies exist), the police did not want to let us in because of our driver, Abdur Reman. He stayed quiet while we chirped from the backseat that we have been to the enclave with this specific driver a million times. We were here just yesterday, we explained.
Finally, after a heated debate between the Pakistani Police offer, a Finnish, Canadian and French girl, we were let through on what was supposedly a 'personal favour' to us - eyeroll. Driving through the enclave for the first time, I found myself feeling very intimidated. Out the windows were high concrete walls, barbed wire, and a man with a large gun on every street corner.
Arriving to the French Embassy, we submit our documents and are subjected to a grumpy man with a metal detection wand who checks us out, front and back. When he is satisfied, we slide our bags over the counter to a man who glances inside and gives his final approval and nods us inside the gates.
It is still early in the day so no one else is here. I am sitting in the sun by the pool with a coffee while Marion works out at the gym. I had hoped there would be some other people here that I could meet and maybe make friends with but, no such luck. Nonetheless, I am thankful for the time to myself, off the compound, in the sun and with my journal.
Life for me in Islamabad so far has been...very small. While I think this is the most powerful world I have ever lived in, it still feels very small. My life doesn't extend much past the compound and my colleagues but, I'm determined to make sure that it eventually does.
Last night, as I lay in bed, I asked myself if the word 'small' was just a mask for the word 'lonely'. I wondered if I was trying to avoid the word 'lonely' by wandering the pages of my mental thesaurus to find a suitable and less...sad...word. But, sitting here now, I think I am avoiding the 'L' word because it doesn't really describe how I have been feeling! I think, more than anything, 'bored' is probably this month's buzz-word.
I am surprised, though, at the true absence of loneliness in my life here in Pakistan so far. Alright, alright... I've only been here two weeks but, it still feels like quite a large triumph that the only tears that have fallen from my lids have been due to the persistent numbness of my fingers and toes while I try to sleep at night.
I long for home and its patient and comforting smile. I miss it with the very last inches of my soul but, I don't feel lonely. I don't feel the aching in my heart I felt the last time I packed my bag and headed out into the world on my own. I don't feel the same panicked need to hear familiar voices, on the phone and answering machines do not bring me to tears anymore.
This absence of lonely makes me wonder about who I was then, and who I am now. Before arriving here, I don't think I, or anyone else for that matter, would have referred to myself as...naive, young or...scared the last time I left Rob alone to travel. In fact, before arriving here, I probably would have thought less about the girl I was then and more about how HARD it was. But, being here, even just for the short period of time I have been, makes me realize that it is not about how hard it is, its all about you.
And... I'm feeling good! I like Heather in Pakistan. She has rolled with the punches, kept an open mind and most importantly, remembered to laugh. So far, loneliness has been a choice for me. Instead of choosing lonely, I've chosen to cherish my moments of calm and spend some long-overdue moments inside that crazy brain of mine. I've taken my time to listen and really understand the thoughts and emotions circling my head.
There is a saying, "Not all those who wander are lost". I'm not sure who originally said it but, it has definitely become somewhat of a catch-phrase for the new, modern traveler. I...think it's bullshit. Of all the people you meet when you are out in the world, wandering, I think almost all of them are lost, in one way or another.
|Agree to disagree?|
I remember talking to a friend under the warm afternoon sun, on a secluded beach, wrapped in the warm Adriatic waters. Spoken like a true and seasoned wanderer himself, he said, 'Everybody you meet with a backpack on their back, is running. Running to something, running from something...running. Something is making them 'wander'."
But, here I am, at the French Embassy in Islamabad and from the bottom of my heart, I do not feel lost. I feel anchored. I am anchored in my moments of calm, in the truths held in my heart and in my healthy, enthusiastic laugh.
And...I don't think you can feel anchored and wander. I think wandering is a thing best suited for those who are lost.
So, for the first time in my life, I feel like I can hang up my wandering shoes and daringly submit that:
I am done wandering.