Most travel blogs I know have written something or other in regards to the terrorist attacks in Brussels. Don’t stop traveling. Don’t let them win by restricting your life. Live your life to the fullest. That sort of thing. Things I said too after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and again in Paris last November. Now the sentiment seems to become a regular column and it’s pissing me off.
This time, I couldn’t say those things in any case. This time, it felt different. This time, I felt like crawling under a blanket and stay there. Warm. Safe. And far from any airports. This time, I thought with a very heavy heart that I had to make my way to the airport on Saturday. Traveling all of a sudden didn’t feel very liberating or appealing.
But then I chatted to my cousin. My cousin who lives in Brussels. Just a short conversation.
Are you okay?
We are. We are actually on holidays in Morocco.
That made me feel better. Not only because my cousin was safe but because I was also heading to Morocco. Somehow her being there and not in Brussels and me going where she was in safety, reconciled me with yet another impossible event. I am not sure if that makes sense at all but for me it did in this moment. I started to feel safe again. Despite having to leave my blanket fort.
And maybe, after all, I was going to be fine? Maybe, after all, I had paid my dues by being in New York during 9/11? Maybe it was enough that I saw the city that I loved more than any man I ever met, utterly crushed and devasted? Maybe. I know that these thoughts are pretty pointless. But somehow they helped. And also, all of a sudden, I remembered that this beloved city had not only been crushed and devasted but had also superhero-like risen like phoenix from the ashes. Quite literal ashes.
Death and rebirth. I think your time is up when it’s up. It doesn’t matter whether you are in New York, in tiny Bad Hersfeld or at an airport. For some reason, I take a lot of comfort in this thought. It makes me not quite fearless but a lot more relaxed about a lot of things.
And whenever such a shit event happens, I get reminded to live. To appreciate. To just do it. Whatever it may be.
The trouble is, you think you have time. Buddha. Wise man. You may or may not, but one cannot take it for granted. So don’t let fear stop you and just do it. Climb that stupid mountain. Hug someone you love. Eat that
second seventh cookie. Laugh. Cry. Or in my case – keep calm and drink mint tea!