Creative writing · Travel

Where are you from?

Where do you come from?

Where have your feet walked, where was the last place you breathed in slowly and looked around, where do you rest your head. What have you seen that I have not, what do you call home.

Where do you belong, where do you choose to belong. Where are your ancestors from.

I trace a finger along all the coastlines of the world, so many coastlines, so many coasts, beaches, scarred cliffs, wind-beaten tall grass, cheeks burned by the bitter cold, golden-haloed skins, I run my finger inside the land of those coasts into roads that disappear deep inside sandy deserts and savannahs, forests of hanging dampness and red birds flying through a cloud of mist, high golden plains where falcons soar in sheets of bright blue sky.

And on the map I read with my heart there are none of those borders where the countries are a neat different color, all clean and unrealistic. On the map of my heart the countries and the coasts all become the warm handshake, the roof over your head, the family in which you´re welcomed, the understanding eyes, the comforting hug, the humans, the people.

Traveling is more about people than it is about places in the way that it alters me…and I just realized this is why it has been such a difficult process for me to start taking photos when I travel, because the things that make travel important for me are moments when the camera is not even an afterthought.

My travel memories are very seldom linked to things I´ve taken pictures of. Since I very rarely take photos anyway, and when I do, they´re likely to be of that tall wine glass in a rainy doorway on a Sunday morning in San Sebastian or of that entire pig head in the market with a smile in its congealed pink eyes.

They´re usually moments, people, small incidents that I hide in little recesses of my brain, safe from forgetfulness and that come out when I need them or when I put fingers to the keyboard.

And thinking about my travels then becomes like opening a drawer where a long time ago you left a small bag of lavender flowers, and the fragrance wraps itself around you, larger than the little place it came from. So much larger than what contains it.

I can never tell which of the moments are going to become my fragrant memories until I remember them much later. John Steinbeck wrote he never took notes when he traveled but let the experience sit with him until he could write about later.

I´m doing an injustice to his quiet eloquence, but there´s no way I´ll find that quote.

3 thoughts on “Where are you from?

  1. I love it! To post a comment to your blog, I have to choose an identity — just what you were writing about.
    Now for my comment: You take pictures with your words. You paint pictures with your words. Your words evoke pictures that would be spoiled by the reality of a photo.
    Madame Maman
    (love and kisses! I never did cook for you. I think cooking is becomeing one of those things “I used to do.” I’ll miss it. I think what I actually miss is serving the food I have cooked to the ones I love.)

  2. thank you. you really do have a gift with words. it sort of makes me think of Borges, the writer… the style… i love it.
    I have been out of the world for a while now.. so I had not had a chance to go through all of your posts… but this last one its just amazing.
    hope you are happy!

  3. kz said

    this fervent reader patiently awaits to see not so much a pink pub full of rich conversations nor a public statement stating truths nor a plublicity effort towards a noble cause but a publication from a publishable poet of poetic prose on memories of people living lives worth remembering …we need a young Steinbeck travelling with another Charlie in other lands…

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