I was sitting alone at a table in this nice neighborhood cafe in Buenos Aires when it suddenly hit me. This feeling that everything is right in the world. That no matter what happened before or what was still to come, this moment was exactly how it was supposed to be.
This is what got me so addicted to travel (well one of the reasons). Don’t get me wrong, I can be perfectly happy in my normal everyday life – mainly while curled up with a good book. But this feeling of deep inner peace and belonging only comes when I travel. Sometimes it’s when I’m at a famous landmark that I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to see (at the pyramids in Egypt), sometimes it’s a landscape (the Serengeti), sometimes it’s something completely ordinary like chilling in a hammock (that’s where the photo above is from) or even a bus ride (from Karthitsa to Corfu). It can be a solitary moment (strolling through Toronto) or connected to people that I travel with or just met while on the road (diving at the Great Barrier Reef).
I sometimes try to take a picture to capture this perfect moment for me. Mostly, it doesn’t turn out all that good. The interior of the cafe is not that pretty with bad lighting and pictures from a moving bus are seldom a good idea. But I’ve come to know that I don’t need photos. Every time I close my eyes, I am transported back to that place and that feeling. It leaves the most lasting memory for me and the one that I carry with me for years. I honestly think that I could close my eyes on my deathbed (hopefully in old age) and conjure up those memories in detail.
When I close my eyes now and think of Argentina, I remember the neighborhood cafe with it’s pale wooden chairs and tables. Near the entrance are a couple of old men, drinking coffe and going through the newspaper in a well set routine. To the side sits an older lady with a coffee and some pastry in front of her. She took great care to get ready for her morning outing, her make-up and hair is done impeccably. She sits alone at the table and doesn’t seem to expect company as she enjoys her breakfast. The waiter in his old-fashioned uniform (black slacks, white perfectly ironed shirt, white long apron) is behind me at the coffee machine. The room smells amazing (because I just ordered waffles 😉 ) and the day outside promises to be sunny and warm. And I think to myself “hey, I could live here. This is a place where I could be happy”. I breathe in deeply and enjoy the feeling of pure peace and happiness for the moment that I’m in.
I love finding this feeling. It’s often unexpected and always so rewarding. Do you know what I’m talking about? Isn’t that what makes travel so addicting? Well, apart from getting to know other cultures and the thrill of discovering something new. I’m already looking forward to the next perfect moment.