I dream of other roads in other lands. Of another home. - Samuel Beckett
There are lights in the distance, cities I might never go to, places that hold a promise of something—something happy and exciting yet melancholic at the same time, a yearning possessing me while I observe them, a longing I cannot place or name.
Captivated by the city lights
This is how I feel most of the time while travelling. Whenever I move from one point to another, be it across the globe to start my life anew, or to go on an adventure or a holiday, or while visiting friends, or on a business trip, I am captivated by the lights of those cities I might never see up close. Maybe that is why I choose the window seat on planes or why I stop chatting with my fellow passengers in the car or the bus usually at twilight, to observe the horizon. Or why I have my nose pressed up against the windows on a train. Or why I usually choose a downtown hotel—with my room as high up as possible with views of the city lights that lull me to sleep.
...and by everything else that defines them
I love exploring cities. The big, crowded, dirty, polluted cities, buzzing with life and the dreams and anguish of the thousands—sometimes millions—of souls it embraces. I love the anonymity and the freedom that comes with it. I love learning their dirty little secrets and discovering the treasures they hold. I love the narrow streets and huge boulevards. I see them as proof of the human vision, of the capacity we have to think big, to create an order outlined by the chaos of the traffic jam and rushing of its people.
A different kind of travel
I have friends who need the mountains, the sea and forests to recharge. And sometimes, I do too. Recently I discovered the rich magnificence of tropical sunsets—their electric colours and the magic they bring. I enjoyed it. I love views from the top of a volcano—with vast forests and blue lakes below. I get it, I really do. Yet somehow, it is the cities where I feel the most alive—the urban atmosphere that stimulates my imagination and soul the most.
It took me years to admit this, first to myself, and then to start sharing it with the rest of the world without feeling somehow inadequate. It also took me years to learn—and then some more years to accept—that my way of travelling is a bit different. I prefer to pack my bags and go live for a year in a new city and explore it. Visit the neighbouring villages. Meet the local people. Find a job and get a feel for how its people think and dream. Learn the language. Get to know the local beliefs and eat the local food. And then, when I’ve thoroughly experienced it, pack my bags and move again.
“There is logic to this tale of madness,” I tell myself at times. Sometimes I find it, other times I get lost in my own exploring, and it takes me a while to catch a glimpse of the end goal—which is the enormous desire to get to those distant lights on the horizon, to make them mine, and for the briefest of moments, to completely belong.
Author - Danche Bakeva
Passionate traveller, Danche left her native Macedonia at 16 and has lived so far in Mexico, USA, Spain, UK and Bali. Follow some of her adventures here:travelnotes2016.wordpress.com