On Time-travelling

I’ve always been anxious about time.  I can’t sit still without hearing it whirring past me inexorably. And I stress myself out with thoughts like: Am I spending my time right? Should I be doing something else more useful with my time?

It’s pathological.

And so I often find myself choosing to travel to get around this anxiety; to find peace. I feel like when I’m on the move geographically, I’m actually cheating time. Time is standing still as I move.

I’ve always fancied that time stood still on airplanes. And not just because of the existence of time zones, but because I’m hermetically sealed in a generic space with no reference to time or place at all. Airplane cabins are the one place where I don’t ever experience time anxiety. I can read a book, or watch a movie, or doze off, without ever feeling guilty.  I’m caught in a tiny time bubble.  And for once I’m happy.

In a similar vein, travelling in a foreign city is like being in my own little time bubble. I’m not stressed out over there being anything more useful to do because the most useful thing I should be doing as a visitor is visiting, experiencing, taking it all in. I do that with gusto.

The city’s time is not my time. I can do what I like – visit the museum, have a drink at the bar, dance a jig in the square – and nobody would even so much as glance at me. They’re all at work, trapped in their own time. I, however, am free.  I exist in my own alternate universe; my own private space-time.

You know, I think when we travel, we’re not just travellers, we’re time travellers.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all.

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
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2 Responses to On Time-travelling

  1. Joe Zandstra says:

    It’s like you read my mind… this is exactly how I feel about travel. The suspension of time is so wonderfully restful – it’s like meditation. Normal rules no longer apply when you’re far from home.

  2. Kennie Ting says:

    Yes! But then when you travel/suspend yourself in time too much you become addicted to it, and you lose track of what normal rules are. The rush is exhilarating. I suppose that’s why there are travel-holics.

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