Friday, 26 July 2013

#6 Freedom or Paris

Oh the wonders of the cellphone camera

Here's the thing about traveling: there are too many expectations. I'm not talking about the place you visit in itself, those are good expectations that you should have, specially because they are usually shattered the minute your plane lands and that is actually what I find so amazing about traveling. There's nothing quite as refreshing as the feeling of realizing just how ignorant you are about life beyond the borders of your own little country (city, even). That's what I think is necessary, to end those endless, goddamned assumptions!! I don't care how much you've heard about the romantic cafes in Paris, until you sat in one, on a winter day, next to one of those freaky heaters that only warm the privileged halves of the 2 people surrounding it, drinking a very expensive sort of brownish water they insist on calling coffee, you do not know how greatly disappointing, yet perfect at the same time, it is! I now sound snobbish and arrogant (the example of Paris was risky), but my point is, the feeling of discovering things you were sure you already knew about- that comes irrefutably attached to traveling -is very underrated, since it's one of the best in the world. And as such, going back to my initial point, it has created way too much expectation. You see, the thing is, once you're sitting on that cafe, you are no longer the college student from back home who was able to scrape enough euros to go spend a weekend in Paris. Oh, no, you could be from anywhere in the world, you could be there for an infinite number of reasons, for an indefinite number of days or weeks, doing pretty much anything. It's like you have permission to be whoever you want, since what's in front of you is no longer the cheap pizza place across the clustered street where you usually get coffee back home, you're invaded by this warm, scary, welcoming feeling that in that moment, when all you see is a wide street with art nouveau street lamps and a sunset that seems faded, but at the same time brighter than any sunset you've ever seen, you could be just about anyone that you please. So what's the problem? What's so bad about this new found blank page? Well the fact that it's not real kind of bothers me a little. Not while I'm wherever this self-discovering journey is taking place, but when, eventually and inevitably, and trust me I've tried to avoid it like the freaking plague, you come back to that godforsaken coffee place back home again, and you're forced to admit it was you all along walking those wide, golden age streets, and your Paris (or whatever the place) self is gone, and you're left wondering why there are only decent macaroons two countries away from yours. And still, I have to say, even with the disappointment of realizing for once and for all I will probably never pull off the funky hat - red lip combination, I like to think I always come back a little more open minded, and with that feeling that something has changed. Some might even go so far as to call it freedom. Crazy kids...