Sometimes, we can’t explain why a thing appeals to us, means so much or seems to be so close to what we are internally, even if it is just for a precise moment of being that passes soon. I find the same pattern to be true when I travel. There are parts of a country or a city which are objectively true and lovely, but our perception still definitively defines them. Who you are during your stay to some extent influences how you see, and vice versa. It may sound egocentric to think about a place this way, yet there is a side where, because of feeling unlimitedly everything in us as it is here and now, we allow the place to touch us in ways it otherwise couldn’t and reveal layers of its own being we’d otherwise ignore.
Maybe it is because I heal so often while traveling, leaving home in a midst of a turmoil, not having any other choice than to feel extremely vulnerable and sensitive. It happens then in those precious moments we chase like lovers and hunt like lions that I open up to a place and the place consequently opens up to me. At least, it feels that way.
Cities aren’t always friends with gentle hugs and kind whispers along those cute streets of messily perfect buildings and cool shops, sometimes they force us to remind ourselves of dark sides and forgotten traits, they can permit us to express wholly. Frightening at first, but liberating always they give answers in the form of questions. Streets we can’t imagine to walk otherwise than alone, in the surprisingly dimming light of noon, streets coming to life in their sincere ordinariness. And then views which literally and later figuratively put thoughts in perspective. Thoughts we project into them.
Is that wrong? To see ourselves everywhere, you’d say. I’d deny it every time. Because we still know the existence of it independently of how we look at it, nevertheless we let our sentiments flow and not enclose our senses to the experiences and our internal ears to stories the place might want to tell us.
Maybe I saw Lisbon heartbroken and Atacama depressingly anxious for a reason. Because that is how I could make that soul connection. Maybe that is why Paris still has so much to say, so much to disclose for and in me. Because it is here I most unreservedly am and feel.