Last night from the balcony of my bedroom in Thessaloniki, Greece, I felt a familiar calling from the long-ago times. I looked over the neighborhood and the city with its stacked dwellings—a very different vision than the city I’m from in Canada. The buildings in front of me felt older than they actually are. I felt a history that existed before the apartments were even built.
Trying to make sense of feelings
In that moment history connected with my soul. A turn-of-the-century timeline. Old Turkey. Old Greece. Old barrios. Places I have already been, and know, filtered into this cityscape. Somehow history became familiar.
And in that same question of how my old soul came together to remember the feel of all of those past times I personally experienced. There was a familiarity with what I was looking at. Not just a surface identity—the obvious one—that I have traveled to Greece and stayed at this place many times therefore it was familiar. This time there was a deeper acknowledgment that we are connected to our history in a way that is difficult to express—this blog post is an example of that difficulty. But it is also proof that very clearly I belonged.
Uninterrupted minutes passed while I stood looking over Thessaloniki, taking in the details.
In the distance two people sat on their small balcony, tiny, like birds in a cage, smoking, drinking coffee, feet up on the rail, chatting. Oblivious that there were others around—me—watching them. I’ve had these feelings of belonging in many places when I have traveled. I’m not sure if it’s the place or me and my connections but each time I sit still and let history flow these remembrances feel real and particularly unique.
Special each time
From the neighborhood of Toumba, Thessaloniki, to a dirty motel in a hot smokey sector of the Okanagan countryside drinking beer, eating chips, feet up on the bumper of the truck, dodging mopeds in Southeast Asia, the streets of Manhattan and the woods of Northern Saskatchewan an openness in each exploration binds me to the moment when I explore.
It’s not the place—a little yes—but it’s the feeling. That’s the thing I can take with me—the feeling. Lots of people get on planes and travel once, twice a year. Maybe more. But do they really look? Or do they show up at the all-inclusive with their expectations and sit in closed-hearted judgment, not exploring beyond the walls in case their comfort is disturbed. These folks, in my opinion, are not traveling. They are just moving their bodies from point A to point B.
When I travel I expect an adventure. I expect surprises, a sprinkle of discomfort (because let’s be honest,—that always leads to a story), and a lot of openness to what I do, who I meet, what I see. When I take it in—the feeling of exploring—it’s that exact thing—familiarity—that binds such vastly different experiences. I cannot take the people with me but the feeling of them, of the place, the memories made, and the energy that sits in those locations—those I can take with me.
This is the blessing of travel. This is why I keep traveling.
As always, thank you for reading lovelies.