“in early June the world of leaf and blade and flowers explodes, and every sunset is different.”
— john steinbeck
briefly pausing my studies to post a belated tribute to my travels last summer — all of these photos were taken on an old iphone. i’m looking forward to seeing vibrant colors soon, beyond the neon fluorescence of the overhead lighting & starch white of my outlines.
pt 1: taiwan
Here I spent an entire afternoon submerged between the wooden bookshelves, a sunny and warm afternoon that should have coaxed any San Franciscan into a day of lazy and haphazard exploration outdoors. The day that had been perfectly set up for a day of exploration became a day meant for idle strolling and pleasant chit chat.
Instead of going to a stand-up comedy show at Doc Rickett’s, I made a detour. I ventured into your space and became mesmerized by your books. I rediscovered my passion for European literature and philosophy, immersed myself in the pages of Sartre and Kundera and Kafka, and eventually mustered the strength to detach myself from that celestial corner of the bookstore to explore other unknown parts. Books on relativity, art and faraway places waved cheerfully at me as I passed from shelf to shelf. Philosophy and the humanities pulled me into their warm embrace over and over again, as I traced my fingers over beautifully composed poems.
I explored almost every inch of that bookstore, all three stories, on that sunny and warm afternoon that lapsed into dusk when I finally stepped out to the real city lights adorning the intersection perched atop San Francisco.
there is something romantic about traveling across a foreign country. when one is suspended in time and space within a vehicle, the landscape beyond the glass windows slowly unfurls itself to the traveler. airplanes and boats impress us with the grandiose beauty of the sky and the sea; cars and trains reveal the vibrant scenes discovered at the ground.
i read once that the journeys we spend traveling from one place to another can in themselves be considered as definitive spaces. this idea intrigued me. we often consider the routes between a certain point A and point B as merely insignificant travel time, a commute towards a destination from an origin that lacks the quality of physical actualization that we attribute to the places to which we are traveling. these places are real. they are concrete entities that we can call a space, populated by the tangible: people, animals, buildings, flora. the process or very act of traveling is too abstract to constitute a space. travel, at its most intrinsic core, is not real.
by conceptualizing travel as a space, however, we can give it significance and an entirely new perspective on our own travel experiences. the hours spent on the subway to work, on a plane to an exotic getaway, or even while walking in transit to meet a friend — all these are spaces, with physical boundaries primarily defined by the fixed path taken to the next place.
travel is perhaps one of the most intimate spaces we can occupy. at the times we travel alone, we have only our own thoughts, and maybe our private interactions with music and the media, to explore in that space.
i’ll be posting more on what i’ve seen and learned while traveling for the past month. 🙂
Not much to say today, besides this lovely quote.
Goodbye, hello, to places, people, sights, and experiences old and new. Perhaps, letting go is difficult not merely because of the fond memories left behind, but also the uncertainty that lies ahead. But without certainty, what do we have to say hello to?