Perhaps the greatest human tragedy is that we live our lives in retrospect – a series of “emotions recollected in tranquility.” How poetic our lives could truly be is undermined by our minds being in all places but the one where our feet are planted. Our memories are bound to reduce all experiences to a blur past their expiration date – then why do we choose to peter out the magnanimity of our emotions by backdating our response to places?
I was the kind of traveller that packed each trip to the brim with little space to breathe in a place and its people. With a plethora of “to-dos” and “must-sees” that I told myself were more authentic because they came from other blogs rather than a Lonely Planet guide – I ran close to tipping my glass over, and oftentimes did spill. This made my glass half empty, something I realised only much later. And thus arose a newfound passion to just be. To stop and stare at the sights, rather than reimagine them through images and videos I meticulously documented with my inadequate phone camera.
A lot of this inadequacy comes from the modern tendency to “plan ahead.” We are so used to having a 5 year plan and considering “what-next” that we oftentimes ignore the “what-now?” To all my fellow Type As reading this. Stop. Breathe. Listen. The colours your stories paint tomorrow will be all the brighter and warmer this way.
As I sat at the Riva Grande in Varenna I could see the small beads of sweat – thick as the scent of lavender wafting through the air – form on the temples of nonchalant audiences that rested their eyes in preparation of the grand sunset to follow. I heard the giggles of toddlers chasing their dogs as they inched closer to the soft waves of the lake, and noted the sharp watch with which their parents cut through the in-depth conversations from time to time. And just so simply, time can be malleable – and the sand can stop slipping.