On the run 1: War of the Worlds

Possessing, not possessing. Settling, wandering. Security, adventure: Responsibility and binding – constraints of too much to care about, or freedom and fighting – constraints of too little to live carefree. What is easier? What makes happier?

Some days I only wanna run. From my habits, my laziness, the boredom, the dullness, my fears. From my history, my fate, my existence. From convictions. Rules. Routines. Expectations. Far, far away!

“Feeling free” – after basic human rights are fulfilled, the further necessary extend of that tickling feeling is discussable. It’s relative, it’s about hedonism, it’s about sense. We are, all, already relatively free – the standard westerner with standard wealth. Has a bloody lot of options. So I don’t want to complain, feeling silly doing so. But, still, somehow everything does not feel right! Someone close to me recently just nailed it and illuminated me with the discomforting truth: I still haven’t arrived yet from that big journey which changed everything. I am still staggering between life-concepts of there and here. Because such a trip does change everything. It changes you in a way you can’t explain. It changes your mind in a way that doesn’t make sense in our world. You can hardly explain the feelings you had in single situations during that trip, so how could you ever explain the conglomerate of “weird” feelings that stick to you afterwards? And suddenly you don’t know any more what is meant to be your way, your home, your meaning of life. You feel misunderstood and question yourself. What is reality? What is real? What is important? And what is you?

It might be tough to acclimatize to a strange culture. But after having immersed into several others, that are so far apart from your own, it might be the hardest to acclimatize to your own culture again. Seems to be the strangest. In this weird world of ours (freaking weird norms, expectations and demands!) people seriously are complaining because the decoration on their cocktail is made from the wrong fruit! (“But it said pineapple on the menu…”! “Yes dear, you are right. Sorry I forgot. In this world you have the right to get what you paid for. I’ll get you a new cocktail in a sec and, of course, sorry for your inconvenience, it’s on the house.” Epilogue: She sips it, quiet now, her red-colored lips tight around the black straw, but she still does not seem happy…) In the evening (9pm, finally home, daylight long gone, macaroni in the microwave) you get short-time-sentimental over a documentary about a small boy in a favela of El Salvador, smiling with pure, genuine joy, because he got out of the crimes of the merciless drug scene just by starting Capuera lessons that took him to a new environment! And the next morning you put the papers away (full of things, real things, you can’t even imagine but wished you never heard them) and you are supposed, expected, to just snap back to our world of smartphones, paperwork, enormous bills and leftovers again with a smile on your face – being so lucky in life – just sighing occasionally that you can’t save the world anyway.

Yes, our life is, for most parts, not comparable to that of billions of other people (really lucky, huh? But is that actually true?) And yes, on our own, trapped in daily-life-routines, no one of us can save the world. But as well as I sometimes feel far apart from the world I am currently living in, I feel part of it all, I feel trapped in it, I feel responsible. I feel pain. For things we are collectively doing wrong. Or not doing at all. I do feel guilty and unhappy and as much as I want to do things differently, I feel I can’t, I don’t know how, so I just want to run away. To the favelas, to the boy, to something that makes real sense.

It’s about fucking turning-time. (We all carrying at least a piece of that awareness.) And – for I haven’t arrived yet anyway – I don’t feel right about joining in again into some sort of life I do not totally agree with its terms of use…



One thought on “On the run 1: War of the Worlds”

  1. I know what you are writing about. It’s been four years now and I still don’t feel entirely re-socialized and adapted in Germany.

    I think the problem might be that we, having the privilege to travel far (and the ignorance to think we are anything else then tourists in the “cultures we immerse in”), take the best from the cultures we meet, patch it all together and get a glimpse at what I assume is our own version of the perfect world.
    The problem then is that we can never reach this place because it is a mosaic built out of everything we experienced.
    Basically we would be doomed to keep travelling, always taking in the good sides of each place and leaving before we realize the shadows.

    I had the same thoughts about the “first world problems” as yo do. And depending on my mood I have different opionions on this ;-). But if we are honest with ourselves there is only one answer: We do not, for anything in this world want to trade our privileges in for the more “basic”, “attached” or “down-to-earth” lifestyle with real existential problems.
    The boy in the Favelas might have deeper routed problems than we do. But if we were there, a woman in Sierra Leone has even worse problems because food prices seem to be rising and she isn’t sure how to feed her children. But if we were there we could discover that the people in Syria have even worse problems with their kids getting torn to pieces. All of these places – without wanting to be cynical here – have more existential problems than we have and are worse than the previous.
    Even thinking about this (downgrading our lifestyle) is a privilege we get from the region and wealth we were brought up in.

    I despise living in a country were people die because they eat too much. Simple as that.

    Perhaps the only thing we can do is close our eyes from everything and keep travelling in our bubble until it pops.

    Paradoxically I feel the same way as you do. Especially about that boy you described. I would also like to run away, live the dream… but unfortunately we also know that having that dream is our greatest privilege.
    We can still try and do the best to improve the world. 🙂

    Talking about first world problems: I think I have traveled too far.

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