Lost on the other side of the world


This all pervading sense of hopelessness

is ever stronger the further I venture from my homeland.

My roots are torn up,

globalised beings though we are,

and now everything is only a plane trip away,

a Skype call away,

a Whatsapp away. Why is it

that this feeling of purpose does not imbue me

now that I’m on foreign soil?

Do I feel content in my homeland because

my singular purpose is to exist in that little

bubble world, the place I was born,

the people who birthed me,

the mountains and trees and grass

who comforted me?

Are these trees and mountains not essentially the same

as those low-lying mountains I see in

the distance from Bucchanan Street?

The ones spotted with gigantic white swooshing wind collectors.

I am found, I think,

yet I’ve never felt more lost or disconnected.

In the countries I backpacked through, with

nought but my Walt Whitman poem

and new freckles

and my infant sense of identity,

I knew I belonged with those strangers, the

beautiful people I glimpsed or said a word to,

the people whose paths I crossed for just a moment

in time before our feet took us in directions ever spiraling

away from each other. I belong

in those colourful cultures,

dusty, chaotic, mesmerising, frightening,

thousands of lives lived separately in the same street,

the smell and crackle of an oily wok in a doorway,

decrepit street-king dogs,

starched uniform children,

old toothless woman grin,

suspicious glance,

incessant calling and harassing to earn a living,

dust stirred by screeching taxis or rickshaws,

madness and despair and infinite poverty and tourism and

money and laughter and a glimpse into their real lives

and a brief unveiling of their country

and a snapshot into my insides

that are just as unknown and squalid as this dust city.

Tell me, why

do I feel restless and out of place like a hand in a shoe

in this new city, this cosmopolitan centre of

coolness and creativity? Why

don’t I feel cool and creative,

why do I feel as though there should be something more

added to this supposed completeness, this

material job house friends security that doesn’t feel as real as

my orange backpack on my shoulders. And did I

feel purposeful, useful, motivated, contented, whole

when I still lived in the caldera of the curving mountains,

or was it that I hadn’t left yet

to experience the fullness of life that only a traveller can know?

These feelings, I can’t place them.

I pine for my family, my home, my mountains and trees and grasses,

and I pine for the chaos of living second to second with

your life on your back and

continual five minute soul mates.

I pine for that drenching knowledge that

I am where I am meant to be and

I am doing what I am meant to do and

I am who I am meant to be,

and did I get a glimpse of that when I was travelling,

or am I glorifying an intensely beautiful experience from reality to fantasy,

a glorious unattainable fantasy I will only ever dream about

and pine for

in all my days?

Or are these answers not hidden in the

unstepped footpaths,

the unseen valleys,

the unmet people,

but all inside



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