I've worked something out about myself. All this time, I've been talking about how much I love to travel. I talk about how great it is to go and meet new people and see amazing things and experience cultures I couldn't dream of. I've been self-diagnosing myself with a severe bout of travel bug for years now but I'm beginning to suspect that might be diagnosing the symptoms, not the condition itself. The disease I'm really carrying is a yearning for freedom. Travel, despite its own self-rewarding nature, is just an outlet for me to find my own unabridged freedom.
I'm not talking freedom in any traditional sense specifically. Rather, just a general disconnectedness from the constraints of day to day life. Looking back, my best moments overseas have nearly always been the quite moments of self-reflection, when I can find some time to physically and mentally pull myself away from the world and everyone in it for an hour. In these moments, one idea will seemingly always come to me without fail. It's an idea that most people would (and should) find alarming but I find the most liberating feeling in the world. "If I were to disappear right now, no body would know". Not in a 'could be another terrifying crime statistic' kind of way. More in a "there is nothing bigger in my life than this moment right now", kind of way.
It's the feeling that I have nowhere else to be tonight, no one else I should be with, nothing I need to be doing. I have no commitments here or at home to worry about. This singular moment, ensconced in my own consciousness and parked away alone atop an unassuming hotel rooftop, looking out over the sun setting on the Jaipur skyline, is the only thing in my life that matters right now. It's almost like an epiphany of enlightenment. It's a combination of the realisation of total purpose and the realisation that I don't have a purpose.
I didn't know if I'd get the chance to feel that rare moment of total freedom on this trip. I have work and university commitments back in Mumbai and I'm travelling with 15 other people. Perhaps it's because Mumbai has come to feel like home after three weeks, but going to a new city feels like I'm out away from home again.
By now the sun has finished setting on Jaipur. Other people are starting to come and join me on the rooftop and I'm aware that soon we need to organise dinner and tomorrow's itinerary and how to get back to the airport. I'm beginning to remember the report I have due for my NGO by Thursday and the fact I'll be on a plane home this time next week.
But for that moment I was totally alone, in a world that either didn't know or care where I was. I was nothing and that nothing is my everything.