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?
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.