Restless feet on a Saturday morning.
This post was written on a typical Saturday in February. At the time of writing, the snow is covering the ground again – not slowly as it usually does, but very quickly. My thoughts wander to sunny beaches, hectic cities, crowded markets, and cosy coffee shops. I see myself looking at books in fabulous stores and eating kebab on a park bench in Slovenia. Oh, those restless feet.
The other day I realised why I don’t enjoy Finnish or Swedish literature. A truly good story is not about the characters, they are about the place. Stories that attract are those that talk about distant lands, narratives that make you reach for a map. Don’t make me read books about sleepy Scandinavian villages, increase my insatiable thirst and give me a novel about Kosovo, Kentucky or Korea. Speaking of books, Dostoevsky came up with a great title for a novella: Notes from Underground. In Russian Записки из подполья. That title reminds me of travelling – travellers might not be stuck underground in the literal sense of the word, but isn’t constant wanderlust a sign of isolation? Oh, those restless feet.
This morning I wanted to sip on a cappuccino in Rome and go for a morning walk in Tierra del Fuego. This morning I started my day by formulating a “why” but quickly changed it into a “how”. How do you make travelling leave a lasting impact? How do you find that inner peace? The questions are endless, the answers are hard to find. Oh, those restless feet.
I have a great book on my shelf, it’s called Annanstanslängtan in Swedish. Longing for someplace else. The writer Anders Mathlein discusses the reasons for wanting to live somewhere else, to be on the move constantly. I have lived in a great many places – on the one hand it’s a rewarding experience, on the other hand it’s quite numbing. There are so many memories, so many people and so many places that need to be remembered. My restless feet have taught me that I can always walk, standing still is never an option.
One gets used to movement. Sometimes I grow tired of travelling, but I cannot remain still. At the end of the day I start climbing the walls if there is no plan, no promise of new places to be discovered and explored. Is it craziness? Sometimes I think that it is indeed so. Maybe it’s just a question of acceptance. In any case I am happy because nobody expects me to stand still.