Sometimes people, me, find essence, meaning and sentiment in the most lifeless – inanimate things in this world.
A ticket, a photo, a torn piece of paper, a book, a pen, an empty perfume bottle, our travel memorabilia.
On other occasions, even non-personal things may convey and send out vibes that could trigger drops of tears down our cheeks.
A song, a bus stop, a park entrance, an airplane seat with a designated number, a tube map.
Associations made with such “things” are such that reserve for such “things” a special place into our hearts and minds.
Why is this? Why is it that such things seem to hold and capture more essence than even living things – people?
Such were my thought when, at one of my last business trips, I was going back home with the train and tired as I was from my flight I was staring at my suitcase. And not just in all parts of it but just on the small wheels.
Strange? Weird? Pathetic?
I realised at that moment that the suitcase was the single thing that had been to all places that I had travelled to. It was a great companion – a great friend! I realised that that plain, black and lifeless suitcase encapsulated all my travelling life and all destinations I had travelled to. It had been to all places I had been to – rolled on pavements, water, sea water, ice, floated in the air of the airplane compartments, thrown on taxis or buses, spilled with coffee or kicked at. It had great acquaintances with whatever substance there is on the earth’s surface and not just there!
I wished I could even play it an NCIS forensic officer and start checking with magnifying lenses all parts of my suitcase – find particles of chewed gum from a pavement at Ipanema beach, sand particles from Hawaii, grass bits from the Scottish Highlands, tiny dropped bits of sushi at Narita airport (before the cleaners run like madmen to clean everything before it hits the ground) or summer dust from an Athenian alley. I could find all sorts of particles stuck in my suitcase. Those particles carried memories from all the places I had been to and looking at them through those fancy lenses was like looking back in time to my trips.
I wished that those suitcases were supplied with sophisticated recorders that could record every single instance of their lives and, in the same time, a traveller’s life. I wished they could record sounds, images, video, odours, even emotions!
And then the more I was looking at my suitcase, the more I realised that those damn wheels did look like an old tape recorder. They did look like a recorder that could record – have recorded – every single instance of my trips.
Could I play back the whole movie?
I wished I could roll back those wheels and have in front of my eyes my travel life played backwards. I wished I could see every single trip, destination, instance of my trips and feel again the way I felt the first time. I wished I could go back to that very instance when at Paddington Station I was waiting anxiously like a small child for the next Heathrow Express train for my first business trip to Nice that I could have never imagined what the future would hold me. Yet I had a gut feeling that trip was meant to start something special.
Since that time I look at my suitcase in a special way. I look at my suitcase not just as a “thing” that carries my trousers, shirts or razors, but as a travel companion and as an inspiration!
But my suitcase was not just the issue. The issue was to try and find beauty, inspiration, attraction, affection in all aspects of travel no matter how lifeless, plain, boring, initially they seem. And then we will start exploring new paths in the realm of travel.
One of such things was my suitcase!