Wandering Secrets

“The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he came to see.”

Lost in translation

It striked me yesterday. While my body needed a good night’s sleep, my mind kept on trying to find the reason why living in Slovakia has not been an unforgetable experience so far.

Not that I’m the only one getting this feeling from life in Bratislava, but it’s been bothering me for some time now.

It’s not that I don’t like what I do here. I like my job, most of my students, my music lessons, the people I’ve met at the gym. If anything, my life here is not boring.

So why am I already thinking about the next destination? What’s keeping me from taking Slovak lessons, from planning to stay another year?

It hit me yesterday. In the end, among all criteria I have set to choose a destination I hadn’t thought of that feeling.

The feeling you get when you go somewhere completely new. That sensation of having nothing to hang on to. When everything around is new, when you know you’re not “home” because when you get up in the middle of the night, still jetlagged, there’s something undescribable in the atmosphere.  Because your brain has too much to take in and all you can see around you is in a blur.
Looking around and seeing unfamiliar signs, hearing traffic, smelling the air… Something, something is different, something you can’t put your finger on, something you can’t name, is different and makes you realize you are in a new place.

That peaceful feeling when you get up with a different sunlight, there’s something about the transport as well. A sweet, subtle feeling that you have no mark, that you have thrown yourself into a mysterious path.
The smile that comes out of you when you hear a conversation, when you order and get what you wanted in a restaurant. The smile that makes you look stupid and appear vulnerable but that you can’t help because it’s too much to process.

That drunken feeling you can see, but that’s difficult to understand, in Sofia Coppola’s movie.

Wandering down the streets, wondering if the world’s safe around you but not really caring.
Stopping on your way to somewhere because you don’t know how to get there, but you enjoy every second of that trip.

I don’t know anything. But I know that feeling, and I know that I love it. I also know it goes away in a few months, and that it can make your life a living nightmare, like it was sometimes the case in China.
And all you will remember after the first months is a blurry dream of what your life was like when you got there.

I just don’t feel it here. Slovakia is such a beautiful country and yet I don’t get it. My fault for having chosen the capital city over a real town. Life is just… Well, a routine. Maybe I’ll try a northern city next year and I’ll have the feeling of being in another planet.
Or maybe I’ll go to another country and I’ll write this same post again.

Life is made of maybes, and I don’t have enough time to stop and find a solution for them.
But I do have time to live my life and to run after this feeling for the rest of my days.

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