Nestled on the stool, the silhouette was none other than what obstructed me as I wrestled, pints in both grasps, my way to the booth where my friends were seated. I bellowed a ’scuse-me – my voice drowned out amid patrons of the busy Queenstown bar – and attracted his attention. Hysteria, on both our parts, ensued and overwhelmed the venue.
I had run into none other than Luke Turner, Felix’s very own music editor, in the middle of New Zealand.
Just as the exhilaration settled and dampened, it was then the mysterious fabrication of fate that struck us hard. Sure enough, it was no serendipitous, random encounter that dumbfounded us both – the friend I had come visit was undertaking a ski instructor course, and one of her fellow attendees happened to be a friend of Luke’s.
Thus be the phrase ‘sheer coincidence’ condemned to becoming an eternal understatement
Thus be the phrase ‘sheer coincidence’ condemned to becoming an eternal understatement.
Ever since bitten by the travel bug such ‘coincidences’ have tiptoed into my rucksack, sprouted exponentially and now parasitically attach itself to my traveller’s lifestyle – no more evident than the sighting of uncanny, seemingly-unconnected Facebook mutual friends.
Quoting Facebook may sound like a crude analogy, though exclaiming upon realising your childhood friend is in a relationship with a travel companion you’ve met in Fiji, or stumbling into someone at a bar in Prague who knows members of your extended family, is no social-media trickery.
As travelling becomes increasingly accessible – with more people exploiting such accessibility – is the world becoming smaller?
Travelling – combined, arguably, with social media – exposes the traveller to innumerable social opportunities the older generations could never have bargained for. Especially when modern technology, the said social media, allows us to maintain acquaintances we’ve made on the road.
But is getting acquainted with heaps of individuals overwhelmingly a good thing?
Not when emotions spiral out of control. In particular for the long-term, perpetual traveller, whose lifestyle and philosophy stand antagonistically against the concept of ‘remaining stationary’, any desire to cement a friendship is what the determined traveller must suppress.
Likewise, when travellers are embroiled in intimacy and mutual affection, travel can tear lovers apart in the cruellest of fashions.
Rather tragic, this irony is: that travel can subtract distances as easily as it can lengthen them, plus a couple of complimentary barriers and brick walls.
Though, is saving yourself from heartbreak or two justification enough for you to shun and elude from travel? Hardly.
The fact is that travelling is, inevitably, interwoven with our lives whether we like it or not. Remove the glamour and principle of exploration – what becomes clear is how travel is fundamentally a lifestyle we are all obliged to obey.From the laborious extraction of oneself from bed to lecture hall, from the Odyssey-style voyage that has you traversing countries and continents to visit family and friends, the sort of travel I’m urging you to consider is that of necessity.Not to mention other travellers headed in your direction. Unless one is so blinded by reckless fondness, like yours truly, one wouldn’t proceed to committing to a relationship with, say, an Australian girl who, to her dismay, was homebound mere weeks after the spark ignited.
Yet, what is there to despair and regret? When life is fleeting and encounters briefer still, shouldn’t we treasure the moments have-been rather than fret about their non-existence? Travel may strip you bare, it is still your facilitator of miraculous occurrences. Grievous partings may be, avoiding them by leading a mundane subsistence is, in my humble opinion, no more bearable.
Besides, what negative emotions travel inflicts upon you, it compensates and remedies with new amities, with your appetite for thrill and unpredictability quenched. We are – if I may speak on behalf of you all – addicts of surprises after all.
So in the words of Homer Simpson, albeit with a significant alteration, I would like to propose a toast: to travel, the problem of – and solution to – all of life’s problems.