Dari Buku Kite Strings of the Southern Cross

Untuk pertama kali dalam sejarah blog Keluarga Pelancong, Emak menulis resensi sebuah buku. Mungkin tak tepat jika dibilang resensi, sebab Emak kan banyak sekali mengutip isi buku. Tepatnya menulis ulang bagian-bagian paling Emak sukai buku ini.

Judul bukunya ada di judul artikel ini. Penulisnya Laurie Gough. Seorang penulis narasi perjalanan asal Kanada. Ini buku pertama Laurie. Berisi kumpulan cerita perjalanannya. Utamanya tentang Fiji, khusus Pulau Taveuni, dimana Laurie jatuh cinta pada seorang pemuda lokal bernama Laudi. Eh, jangan salah, ini sama sekali bukan novel percintaan, lho.

Emak kenal Laurie dari buku The Best Women Travel Writing. Tulisannya tentang iblis dan menginap di kuil Hare Krisna di Malaysia langsung membuat jatuh cinta. Tak lama, buku Laurie Emak pesan melalui Amazon. Sempat ngendon berbulan-bulan di rak buku, tak tersentuh. Membacanya hanya butuh 2-3 hari saja. Bahasanya halus, hidup, menggugah, penuh makna. Laurie sangat pandai memaknai setiap perjalanan. Semoga Emak ketularan pandai menulis kisah perjalanan seperti Laurie, ya… amin…:)

Agar bisa menyelami dan mengenal sedikit tentang Laurie Gough, seperti janji Emak di atas, Emak tuliskan kembali beberapa bagian dair buku ini.

Writing, like traveling, deepens my life, and writing about my travels gives them new meaning. Sometimes, it even allows me to live those journeys over again, minus the mosquitos and sunstroke.

I wanted to set down on paper all that I had seen out there, all my encounters with the world and its people. I didn’t want my travels to evaporate.

A curious human linkage is forged amongst travelers, making it possible to understand one another almost immediately because we recognize something of ourselves in each other. We’re the sort that doesn’t need a home. The desire to see the world is what matters. Traveling is like being in love; it has that kind of strength. The love people give to another people, to a home, to a career, we give to the road, to the mountains and villages, to children running in the streets, to the women at the well, to the trees, the moon. We throw ourselves into the world and become creatures of chance, of the stars. Traveling alone can be hell, in its utter solitude and in its panic, panic not from rain or cold or sickness but from the sense of displacement, and the question Why am I here? But something compels us and it’s this : when we travel we absorb fresh life around every corner. For years the urge to travel might refuse to identify itself, as if it’s a dormant seed inside us. But one day we find it somewhere else, furrowed in the body of another person we may meet on a train or at bus stop, and suddenly this yearning is happily, instantly recognizable. We understand each other’s need to travel. We understand this without question.

I don’t travel to see the museums, galleries, and palaces of the glittering cities. I travel to see the faces of villagers in their markets, or the particular sweeping motion of a tree shading someone sleeping beneath it, or to hear what the women say at the bus stops. I watch to see how the moon rises up over unfamiliar land, to check for a deeper yellow, a large face, a quicker pace. I watch to see if my reflection has changed.

To leave, to travel, is to live for the moment, freely, wildly, to be vital and alive, having ties everywhere but no one place to call home, and, at times, feeling too close to an uncertain edge. To settle is to know security, posses something stable and cared for, built up over years by the wamth of your own fireplace. Unlike travel, a steady home is rarely wild and freeing; yet to me, it’s a dream I often long for when I travel, but I fear I may never know.

Underneath a temple of trees in the night’s most quiet moments we come to an understanding. We know it must be similar to quotes and phrases we’ve read countless times in poems and on tea packages, but it seems significant nonetheless: everyone eventually must choose her road. You either stay on the road that’s comfortable and safe but limiting, or you break out on the other road, the unknown road, and follow your deepest inner longing. This one isn’t easy road, but it’s your own, the one you know you have to take in the end.

We’re adult for so much more time than we’re children, yet childhood takes up so much of our lives, of who we are. Travel has the same effect. Not only does time stretch out when we travel, like a curvy road into the unknown, but travel takes up so much space in our lives, as if, like childhood, travel is the one overriding factor that colors our lives more richly than anything else. The world in bright crayon.

Everything I saw was new to me so time took on its childhood-wonder dimension wheredays feel like weeks and single moments last forever. I lived to encounter people whose lives would never again cross mine, to bump into a passage of life with an entirely different musical score. On those days, I never fell from my heights of exhilaration. It was like falling in love.

As I walk along the road that once felt like an earthly paradise under my feet, and now just feels like a road, mucky and long, I think about how often I’ve searched or paradise and never found it to lie in a place or a culture. Rather, paradise rests on the island of the human heart – in every place, in every culture, in athousand ways. I think about people in this floating world who roll each other up in carpets, who clap and sing on buses, men who paint visions of the jungle and the moon, a man who rides his motorcycle around a continent just to get home, people who chant Hare Khrisna in ecstasy, families who throw water at each other at funerals. I think of children who laugh and wave at buses in the desert, a girl who sings to sugar cane, people who dance and make music in gardens, women who float on the morning sea.

They say if you believe the world is throbbing with wonders, then it is. They say in old stories that you can’t discover new lands without losing  sight of the shore for a long time. I say, if you believe in the wonder, you’ll find your shore.

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