I Remember

Ten years ago - ten years younger. I was sitting in a Soviet train on my way to Moscow. What was I thinking then?

Do I still remember?

Russian landscapes must have passed the window.

When I close my eyes I can still see the small, colorful houses. The smell of the train is still there, the taste of fresh, strong tea, the smile on the face of the conductor serving it from the Samovar.

I've met so many people on the Transsiberian Train, then, in '89. And even more in Beijing. And then all over the world. Where are they now? I half remember names and faces, disconnected. Where is Marie? Jaques? Tina? John? Sabine?

Meeting people from all over the world. The highest privilege of them all. Hundreds of names, all still there, hidden deep. Friendships, short lived maybe, remembered forever.

Ten years of travelling. Ten years of coming home and leaving again. All the buses that I took, all the ships and planes that I boarded. Backpack on my knees. Sweating in the dusty heat. Getting a cold next to a broken window.

Landscapes as in a fever dream. Wild. Dramatic. A dream after all?

Thunderstorms. I remember all the thunderstorms on the road. Lightning in Shanghai. At the Grand Canyon. In Darwin. Electricity in the air, the smell of rain. Typhoons over the South China Sea. Clouds racing across hilltops.

Heat. I have been travelling a lot in summer. Desert heat, dry and unrelenting. Humid, wet heat on a Yangtze boat. Warm rain and sand storms. Steaming forests. Glittering haze on the horizon. I can relive it. It is still there. It was worth it all.

Travel plans. Schedules. Always there and always wrong. Things just happen. Always better than anything ever planned before. Not the master of my voyage, but a rolling stone. Full of wonder of what will happen next.

In my mind I can travel back, to all those places and along all those roads.

I remember.

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