Ours is a generation…
How many times have you dreamed of living somewhere else? Where does your fairytale life begin?
A mountain lodge with a view of a dark green valley littered with tall old trees and winding trails. Or, a cottage on a beach, all dressed in white and aquamarines, with sand at your doorstep and the quiet, comforting roar of the ocean.
I dreamed of a city on the far side of the world with cobblestones and crumbling architecture, where people chased life and nights swiveled under neons and stars. Instead of dwelling on the idea, I took the plunge, packed as few preconceptions as possible and took off for Buenos Aires.
Once there, I settled into a cozy little apartment in an Alice-in-Wonderland neighborhood called Palermo Soho, tried learning Spanish and even joined a gym to make life “normal”.
The days stretched their tawny golden summer selves into evenings of electric orange sunsets and lavender twilight skies. People whirled giddily by — tattooed, perfectly coiffed, young, beautiful and so full of promise, but never stopping, never pausing to look up from their own candy-swirled lives. Did I do the same when I was home?
I found language to be the biggest barrier; it was difficult to talk to people because I didn’t have the words. (Sometimes I feel like that even in my own country!)
I found that travellers were open to discover new things and new people, but that friendships with them were gossamer threads — silver and streamlined, but tentative at best. Moments of friendship were only for now. Everyone was always moving.
I found that I loved food beyond parties and people, beyond monuments and history — I realized what a central and comfortable theme it plays in my life.
At the end of my month, there were no heartfelt anchors to weigh me down and make me stay. I enjoyed beautiful breezy Buenos Aires for what it was — a summer fling — beautiful, complicated and a memory to cherish, but nothing more.
I was chatting with a friend of mine in Bombay a few weeks later and we both agreed — “I don’t know where to go anymore — I earn in one city, have my friends and family in another, the love of my life in a third and can’t seem to combine any of them no matter how hard I try”. It’s amazing how common this conundrum has become for a generation that’s had life smeared across the planet.
It’s this problem that I was hoping to solve by thinking out of the box and going all the way to South America. I was hoping to answer: “where do I go?” with “where does the fairytale begin?”
I took from my trip what I could — that we need to appreciate where we are and notice whatever good is around us. We need bonds based on real and meaningful communication, not just text messages or once a month meet-ups. And we need to recognise what we’re really passionate about.
Maybe the trip and it’s out-of-the-box-ness didn’t solve much, but it’s a step in the right direction. Leo’s lines in The Beach put things into perspective about why we can’t just stay home and suck it up:
“… For mine is a generation that circles the globe
in search of something we haven’t tried before
So never refuse an invitation
Never resist the unfamiliar
Never fail to be polite
and never outstay your welcome
Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience…”