On the Ubiquity of Self

Every so often, a blog writer will take a moment to reflect on the status of her creation. This is apt to happen during a blog’s anniversary, or upon the provocation of a reader or following the absence of anything else to write about.

Putting aside the reasons that may have provoked this particular post (okay fine, it’s reason #2 and #3), I’ve always had the troubling awareness that Peripateia hasn’t quite fulfilled one of its original reasons for being. One of the major intentions behind setting up this blog was for me to have a venue for sharing stories about my travels. For the most part, however, it’s my rambles to the interior that have gotten a lot more limelight than my rambles to the exterior.

The more I think about it though, the less I’m surprised. Looking back, I’m not quite sure if I was ever truly present to most of the places I visited. On hindsight, traveling has mostly served as a means for me to renovate my mental interiors—appropriating the globe, as it were, to equip my cosy, self-enclosed world with more exotic items of furniture, more rooms, more floors, more annexes, more wings, more extensions and more grounds. Every foreign culture, ever foreign notion, every foreign language was about the acquisition of new ideas, of rendering the unfamiliar into the familiar, of stripping the world of novelty and risk, of finding the commonalities that had to cut across the surface diversity, of being able to say, I was there—not for the right to join an elite traveler’s club, but to simply annul one more source of otherness. Traveling, in other words, has been security: the steady conquest of the threat of the unknown.

In short, I’ve only ever really rambled across my interior. And the surprising thing is: even that wilderness is vast and untameable, and no amount of wandering across the world has or ever will make me feel at home inside or outside.

Hence, given the futility of the exercise, it’s best to give up all notions of security entirely, and to just enjoy the world (whether inner or outer) just the way it is.


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