Jet Lag

“It is necessary not to be “myself”, still ess to be “ourselves”.
The city gives one the feeling of being at home.
We must take the feeling of being at home into exile.
We must be rooted in the absence of a place.”
-Simone Weil

That is from the beginning of the first chapter, and it just resonates with me so easily, so completely. The whole book deals with what this notion of home is, what makes a places home when so many places are comfortable, so many transient spaces are so nice. For example, when your traveling alone, you have no history, no background, you can be completely yourself, and no one knows, cares, or notices if your “different” or “not completely who they thought you were”. I enjoy that, and I feel most like myself when I’m walking around a city by myself, just doing nothing, sitting, watching, drinking, anything really. I don’t have to answer to anyone, to anything and I have no plans or agenda. Thats what it was like when I was in Christchurch last month and I long for that to happen again, for me to be able to just leave things for awhile again. At the time, I hate not having a plan, and it is always nice to have a friend around to do some things with, but its also those inbetween moments of waiting, sitting in LAX waiting for a flight that inspire me to keep going and make me more aware of who I am as a person, as a traveler or as a transient.

“Philosophy is really homesickness: the wish to be everywhere at home”.
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Its not only true, but also the hardest part about traveling, living abroad or just going on a short trip. You experience these places and some, not all, are just you. They fit, they click or your current experiences in life coinscide with the place your at at just the right moment.

“Yet in the modern world, which I take to be an International Empire, the sense of home is not just divided, but scattered across the planet, and in the absence of any center at all, people find themselves at sea. Our ads sing of Planet Reebok and Planet Hollywood — even my monthly telephone bill in Japan speaks of “one World One Company” — yet none of us necessarily feels united on a deeper level.”

“A person like me can’t really call himself and exile (who traditionally looked back to a home now lost), or an expatriate (who’s generally posted abroad for a living); I’m not really a nomad (who’s patterns are guided by the seasons and tradition); and I’ve never been subject to the refugee’s violent disruptions: the Global Soul is best characterized by teh fact of falling between all categories.”

“And what complicates the confusions of the Global Soul is that, as fast as we are moving around the world, the world is moving around us; it is not just the individual but the globe with which we’re interacting that seems to be in constant flux. So even the man who never leaves home may feel that home is leaving him, as parents, children, lovers scatter around the map, taking pieces of him wherever they go. More and more of us may find ourselves in the emotional or metaphysical equivalent of that state we know from railway stations, when we’re sitting in a carriage waiting to pull out and can’t tell, often, whether we’re moving forwards, or the train next to ours is pulling back.”

As much as I love train trips, I especially enjoy the anonymity that it gives you. This is also true for plane trips, and sitting in airports. I could be anyone, from anywhere, going to a million different places around the globe.

“The man who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign land.”

“And so, half-inadvertently, not knowing whether I was facing east or west, not knowing whether it was night or day, I slipped into that peculiar state of mind — or not mind — that belongs to the no-time, no-place of the airport, that out-of-body state in which one’s not quite there, but certainly not elsewhere. My words didn’t quite connect, and the world came to me through panes of soundproof glass. I felt myself in a state of suspended animation, five miles above the seas — sleepy, light-headed, unsure of how much pressure to put on things. I had entered the stateless state of jet lag. “

I often feel as if i’m in a perpetual state of jet lag, whereas, I don’t necessarily feel completely involved in the world around me, disconnected from reality, from necessity, from what is happening. I could be wondering disconnected from all of this, constantly, and not realize what has happened until one day, I’ll sit down and things will suddenly come together, my mind, body and thought are completely together for that one, brief, quick and random moment, in the most unanticipated spot.

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