I wrote this while awaiting a ferry to go to my friends' wedding in Poros, Greece. It was an enlightening moment fueled with a bit of travel exhaustion -- but at this point I'm happy to say that's become the norm.
Maybe it was never about the traveling. I mean, don’t get me wrong, this is my drug of choice, but maybe the initial thought of traveling, of visiting new places and cultures, of immersing yourself into the curiosities of centuries of great and poor decisions that create what we call cities, maybe that was just a facade. I begin to realize this as I type away in some bench at a bus stop in Athens, Greece.
My flight into Athens landed at 4:00am, which was essentially the worst time one can arrive at any city, although i’ll give New York and Barcelona props on being one of the few places i’d leave the airport knowing the city was inexplicably still alive.
Anyways, back to my point: as I sit in this bench, I observe people from everywhere, some rushed and others less so, trying to make it onto an early morning boat. There’s an ironic amount of stress populating the atmosphere of tourists. It is at this moment that I realize that what I love about traveling was the amount of time I get to spend in free thought.
I notoriously work a lot, I love the feeling of achievement and the work that I do so I wouldn’t have it any other way, but there is true value in these peaceful moments of travel, particularly in between reaching a destination. It is in these moments that my mind roams free.
I begin to wonder if this nation, on the verge of collapse, will somehow rise again. My friend let me know that things were not well, that their economy was on its last breath which is devastating to hear. The homeless population, in the little that I have seen today, seems similar to that of San Francisco. I begin to wonder the devastating effects that cities have on people who fall on hard times.
In today’s society, it is a lot more difficult to go out into nature and live as a recluse. Everything is owned by someone. This is not to say people haven’t succeeded in leaving the populated world but sometimes I wonder what I would do if I became homeless and this comes to mind. I wish I could be more empathic to their struggles however. I am quick to think of malice when approached by strangers — and I imagine others are of the same mentality.
It is incredibly difficult to imagine living in a world where you are neglected by most of the people around you. Those who help often qualify it, giving you food instead of money so they could feel better about their charitable work. We’ve grown more skeptical, and less selfless. We have built cities to become individual. We are no longer a community but rather a set of individuals desperately seeking a mystical answer.
We should redesign our cities to rebuild a sense of help and community but I am now lost in thought, to be continued.