A poem for Travelers… Simon Constam
Sitting in the lounge at the Godzilla Hostel in Moscow earlier this week I thought how perfect this Sunday’s poem is for travelers.
Each time the door opened, one or two people would come through and land on a couch with a heavy sigh. Not knowing the context, you would think they were having a terrible day. In fact, they were having the time of their lives. It’s just that, while travel is amazing, it can also be hard work.
Traveling and taking a holiday are two different things.
The people at home who don’t travel a lot don’t always understand how hard it can be. They often mistake traveling for taking a holiday. But they are two very different things. Traveling, especially long term, challenges and stretches one in many ways. Time constraints on short trips can cause you to explore from morning to night – 12-15 hours a day – returning at the end exhausted yet ready to do it again the next.
Today’s poem was written by a friend of mine over 40 years ago. He is a wonderful poet though I didn’t realize that he was so in his youth until he sent me this – a poem remembered when I started the Sunday Travel Poetry series.
I envy those who envy me for traveling.
Sometimes I sit on a foreign street in a busy cafe,
imagining you wishing you were here,
feeling for the first time the thrilling flush
of wanting to be elsewhere,
the frisson of happiness that wishes bring.
And so I sit quietly knowing that now
it’s time to figure out just what it is
I meant to do here.
Of the poem, Simon says: “I wrote Dislocation back when I was 19, in the middle of my round-the-world trip. The meaning and purpose of travel is not always evident. To build confidence, some would say. To open one’s eyes, say others. And some would say to realize their destinies. I would often sit at an outdoor cafe wondering what it was exactly I was doing while the wheels and gears of everyday were spinning relentlessly at home.”
Thanks to Hostelworld for my stay at Godzilla Hostel. it was clean, friendly and quiet. The decor is fun and the location has easy access to the subway which is just three stops from the city center. All in all, highly recommended.