On travelling and modern nomadism

 

And sour grapes?

These Facebook posts will typically include several sets of mandatory fun pictures that I cannot, for the life of me, find any dissimilarity in. For there’s only so much Leaning Tower of Pisa one can digest in one day

 

The horrors of summer vacations are now almost behind us, with a different brand of dread now lying in wait. Senseless hours, whining children, ridiculous amounts of homework, traffic jams, unbearable weather, people losing their temper left, right and centre, and last but in no way the least, the looming, never-ending security risk.

But that is not what I’m writing about today.

My current grievances relate hugely to one of the revulsions one cannot help but experience during these summer vacations, which is to say, stumbling across one of your dearest friends’ travel diaries— as they are referred to by the well-travelled types— on the inescapable menace known as social media.

These pictures look roughly the same. People you know well, standing awkwardly in front of a shady monument in some part of the Maldives, that, if you observe closely, easily gives away the extent of fun that is being had.

These Facebook posts will typically include several sets of mandatory fun pictures that I cannot, for the life of me, find any dissimilarity in. For there’s only so much Leaning Tower of Pisa one can digest in one day. The fun types, however, have decided that this is what fun has metamorphosed into,and who are we to disprove?

All of these travellers are also nomads, I’ve found out lately. It seems that the definition of nomadism I was acquainted with all my life was slightly misplaced. These days you’re a nomad if you pack several bags, of all shapes and sizes, and go visit your sister for a month or two in Sydney. All this life of pretentiousness and I couldn’t get one definition right.

Anyway, these young nomads usually stay at one place, or visit the popular touristy places nearby, so they can easily get back home when they get tired. They take lots of peculiarly similar pictures and put them up on social media right away— since, let’s face it, you didn’t have fun if there are no fun pictures to support your claim with. There are popular hashtags that go with these pictures to portray the sheer intensity of passion these folks have for travelling.

I have found out that you cannot possibly miss their trips, since their dedication to putting up a minimum of a dozen pictures on every thinkable social medium is commendable. I have also found out that no matter what I do, I cannot top that. Fun adventure is lost on me.

Shopping and dining at the fanciest of places is also a norm for today’s young drifters out for an adventure, who, then, after all the fun they have had, return home to tell us the tales of the nomadic life they just experienced. By the way, I am not, in any way, against fancy places; it’s just that all of these new-fangled nomadic adventures just daze my timeworn and tedious sensibilities.

“What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare”

I adored this verse from Henry Davies’ poem, Leisure, while I was growing up. I had always thought that that was what fun looked like. I tried to live my life according to this principle as well, to fully absorb something before moving on to the next. To be able to actually make time to admire something was to me, the height of experience. But according to today’s nomads I was wrong all along.

These young travellers know that to just stand and stare at something would be tantamount to wasting one’s time that could be spent undertaking nomadic fun journeys all around the world. So they waste no time. Standing and staring is for us old timers,who would rather spend a quiet evening at home with a good book and a steaming cup of tea.

Shopping and dining at the fanciest of places is also a norm for today’s young drifters out for an adventure, who, then, after all the fun they have had, return home to tell us the tales of the nomadic life they just experienced

Ah, but the nomads are well aware of the significance of reading. They will just take a book or two to the next trip out to the mountains, stop by a lake and take a picture with the book… to put up on Instagram. After all, what better place to relax and read than in the middle of nowhere, with children throwing tantrums in the background, coupled with a few impending land sliding hazards?

I often find myself admiring the spirit of these young travellers; they’re well aware of the fact that our generation skipped in all the useless romanticism it indulged in— it’s all about the picture you portray to the world, no matter how unbelievable.

By the way, ‘liking’ these nomadic fun pictures is absolutely imperative, lest you’d like to be labeled as someone whose life story is essentially an amalgamation of grapes that were just too sour.

 

The writer can be reached at wajiha.hyder9@gmail.com



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