Joys of Traveling, Benefits of Daydreaming —
I am an inveterate daydreamer. My grade school teachers could not figure out how to make me stop daydreaming and do the dittos and complete the busy work that they deemed I should be doing. They told my parents on me. They would tell me to stop daydreaming and do my work to no ends.
“Wade daydreams, Wade daydreams.”
“Stop daydreaming, Wade!”
Their banter went on.
But they could not break my daydreaming habits, I held on to them with an iron clad grip. Staring out a window on to an empty field beyond was always preferable to redundant grade school lessons.
Dreaming wild dreams was always a more sought after occupation than filling in blanks, solving math problems without end, or fondling some perverted, self fondling point of grammar.
I will sell you my body and time, but my mind stays free to roam.
I suppose it is this attribute, more than any other, that perhaps lead me to traveling: daydreaming is perhaps the traveler’s highest held occupation. Travel without a joy of daydreaming is a venture into infinate boredom on a global scale. But to travel in a train across great stretches of the planet, listening to the wheels roll over the tracks “chug, chug, chug,” sets the beat of the daydreamer’s mind.
I become the king of India for a moment.
I solve the great riddles of our times.
I walk across the barren stretches of prehistory.
I plan my next glorious leap across a glorious planet: maybe I will go to Afghanistan, maybe back to South America, I really do miss those 25 cent breakfasts in China.
I daydream my way into a self created grandeur.
All animals daydream. Idle time consists of a great portion of any animal’s existence. Have you ever tried to watch an animal in the wild? Have you ever sat around and just watched your dogs or cats? It is a real friggin’ boring thing to do. They don’t do anything. They stare off into space: daydreaming.
Like every other geeky kid who was raised on documentaries, I once fantasized about being a wildlife biologist who would go into the jungles and observe the wild things there. I am now completely riveted that I did not go into this avenue of science. Who would want to watch animals daydreaming all day long?
The same goes for the bulk of the people on planet earth outside of the bustling cities, the first world fringe, and East Asia. People with things to do, do things. The rest of the planet sits in doorways daydreaming, waiting for something interesting to walk by.
I can remember the most glorious stint of traveling that I have ever had. It was my first journey outside of the USA. I went to Ecuador. I stayed for a while on the coast, and I would walk next to the ocean all day long, sometimes sitting on the beach looking out into the infinite distance, sometimes I would kick at the sand and bury my toes. All the time I would be daydreaming. I was 19 years old, an entire lifetime and travels laid ahead of me — I dreamed it all the way through over and over again each day.
I was never bored.
“If you say that you are bored, what you are really saying is that you are boring,” I paraphrase the Science Guy Bill Nye. He was correct: a traveler with daydreams can never be board.
The experiential benefits of traveling are obvious: meeting new people, seeing new places, checking out how other people live are good ways to fill up the tanks of life. But the inner benefits of traveling — the standstill hours while waiting to get on a train, the uninterrupted daydreaming of long distance bus trips, and the time and space to concentrate on your own internal world — are the truly priceless advantages of traveling.
Seeing the sights and looking upon the grandeur of the planet often falls far short of simply having the space and time to be on your own, to introvert into your own personality, and to build up the blocks of character. This is the true benefit of traveling: to unravel your impressions about the world that you live in just to ravel them back up again only to be unraveled some more.
“We are kings of the earth,” my old traveling companion, Stubbs, once looked up at me on a train rolling across a night time China.
I looked out the window into the darkened realm of a foreign land. I dreamed about what laid outside of the windows of the speeding train. Yes, we are kings of the earth.
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