A quote from Marching powder by Rusty Young, a fantastic read!
“So where exactly are you from again?”
“It’s hard to say really” said Jay, “I have been travelling for some time now. I don’t feel like I belong to any one place in the world. I’m really from everywhere and nowhere at the same time if you know what I mean.”
“How long have you been on the road?” asked Giles, a long haired backpacker from the UK.
“Oh approximately thirty four days” said Jay, nodding his head proudly.
Paul raised his eyebrows. “A month you mean?”
“Well it’s not really a question of chronological time” said Jay sounding defensive. I don’t measure things in that way, I have done more than ten countries in that time and it’s impossible to measure any cultural experience by number of days. It’s more of a personal growth thing…” His voice trailed off to allow the thought to linger for dramatic effect. As an afterthought he added, “besides thirty four days is more than a month, isn’t it?”
“How can you do thirty four countries in ten days?” Asked Giles, using his fingers to indicate inverted commas to inverted commas around the word ‘do.’
I do” – phrase which should be left in marriage not in travel. To often in conversations with other people do we disregard experiences and countries with this simple phrase.
“Yeah, I did Asia.”
“I’m going to do Bali next month.”
What exactly do we mean by this common slip? Have you seen it in its entirety? Have you ruled out the possibility of returning? Have you had every experience possible to have?
It’s an easy phrase to use, a mistake I’m guilty of but it doesn’t convey it’s true meaning. Of all the places I have visited I wouldn’t rule out visiting any of them again. Even the most challenging of situations I hope wouldn’t make me rule out a country/ continent/ race.
To ‘do’ a country you must surely believe you have seen everything there is to see, experienced the variety of cultures which surely exist there, have lived through it’s changing seasons.
We need more variety to substitute our vocabulary with ‘been,’ ‘travelled,’ ‘explored’ or ‘experienced’ but to ‘do’ is such a final term which suggests eradicating the possibility of returning or understanding more.
Come on travellers, let’s be inventive and go and indulge some countries together.