Song of The Open Road

More than one hundred and sixty three years ago, Walt Whitman wrote “Song of the Open Road”:

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,

Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose…

Open road is often used as a metaphor for freedom; freedom from ________________ you can fill in the blank with the words that define your shackles that you wear every day. I will not write about the importance of open road because those who’ve been there already know it and those who haven’t, I’ll let them discover for themselves. Because some things in life need to be felt by all our senses, they lose their tranquility the moment there’s an attempt made to embroider them to fit the frame of language.

It saddens me sometimes to see how travel has become commercialized but so has everything else. No, I will not express my thoughts about capitalism here, precisely because I am well aware that this is not the right platform for doing so. Instead, I will let my thoughts crawl into a cave and let them sit there for a while until I light a fire and pick the most appropriate thoughts that are suitable to be used here.

In my previous articles, I have already written about how travelling is an experience and not a mere sight seeing activity, how it is not something that will change your life but rather a medium that might change your perception on things, how it is not the destination itself that gives meaning to the act of travelling but the situations, people and emotions encountered on the way to reach that destination. I find myself rummaging through various sections of the unorganized library of my thoughts to look for a strand that I might be able to deconstruct into a readable article that somehow relates to travel.

Read my other musings – Click Here

Finally picking on a strand of thought that needed some dusting and polishing before it could be put into words here I am with a travel thought, if it can be considered so (what are labels anyway but mere words!). Have you ever wondered why does “travel” acquire such an important seat in the politics of human life? Why it has been such a crucial potter in the shaping of human history?

Even before the age of Facebook and Instagram, people travelled miles and miles across oceans and mountains despite travel being so uncomfortable and sometimes even life threatening. Seas could swallow you. Wild animals could kill/injure you. Robbers could rob you. And what not threats traveling possessed before the age of renaissance. But still travelling as an activity (and necessity) thrived. For whatever purpose the journey was undertaken, it has always been worth it. You can read the travel accounts of the travelers from the past thousands of years ago from Ibn Batuta, Megasthenes, to Hiuen Tsang and many others –all of them have one thing in common which is that the world is full of wonders and people that are even unimaginable to the most creative minds. And spending a part of your life in getting familiar with such wonders is a life well lived. So go out there while you can and be familiar with all the unfamiliar experiences that the world has to offer to you.

You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all that is here,

I believe that much unseen is also here. -Walt Whitman

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