The Eternal Traveler

Hey, I’m an eternal traveler, like most students are, these days. I moved out for college, moved to another place for an internship, moved homes, moved for a vacation, moved back for college, and another internship. And I don’t see this pattern ceasing any time soon. And I love it.
This is an extract of the minutes of the meeting held by the committee inside my head.
These minutes are now the property of Perry The Platypus, sworn to protect them against the schemings of Dr.Doofenshmirtz, who’s just waiting to get his hands on something that’ll teach him more about the inner workings of the thing he understands the least: emotions, personal identity, and the heart.

Beware all the same. He might be right behind you

Human Inc.

Date & Time: When I zoned out and ignored about 436 of my responsibilities.

Jim Reason, Chief Executive Officer
Broke Bill, Chief Financial Officer
Pamela Humor, Relieves tension in awkward situations
Clara Heart, The one who takes everything a little too personally
Will Child, That 18 year old intern who’s fooled into believing he has an actual role

Will Child [intern]: “When I decided to apply to Human Inc, I was psyched for the opportunity to intern at a super important organization. I thought we’d get to understand the way humans function and it would help my career in some way. But they just make me read a few really old papers related to Human Inc’s early days where their highest achievement seemed to be finishing their Cerelac bowls and playing in the mud. Anyway, since I have nothing else to do, I am going to narrate to you.”

“We have to move again?! But we just did, two years ago! Do you even know how much rent and food cost, there? And to pay for those flight tickets every time you miss your mommy! The memberships for the gym and the library have been paid for the rest of the year. Now, we’re going to lose all that money! Living in a new city all by yourselves, please!  We’re going to get ourselves killed. Or worse, mugged! We are so not doing the whole oh-no-I-couldn’t-pack-all-my-43-kinds-of-conditioner-so-let’s-spend-all-our-money-on-that. Nope. Dismissed.”, Broke Bill ranted.

“It’s not like we ever showed up at the gym anyway, to even get our money’s worth. Oh Bill, darling, do stop worrying about the bills.”, Pamela Humor joked.

The entire room burst into laughter. That was a lame pun. I didn’t think it was funny. But I laughed because if not, they’d give me the prestigious job of getting them coffee.

“But this is the opportunity of a lifetime! And we worked so hard to even get it. Letting it go is out of question. And this one opportunity will lead to several others. Everything is actually a positive here, you guys aren’t looking at it in the right way. We get to meet new people. We get to visit new places. Have exotic new experiences. And this is good for us.”, Jim Reason reassured us that it was worth it.

“But what of the people we’ll leave behind?”, Clara Heart chirped in her tiny, soft voice.

There was total silence and everyone looked at each other awkwardly.

The CEO swooped in to offer what he could best. Reason. Logic. Things that made sense.
“Technology is advancing so swiftly! I’m sure we can keep in touch. Holograms and stuff, it’ll be like they’re right here with us! It’ll be fine. Yeah?”

“No, you don’t understand. We have to start over. Everything. The person that we are. We don’t even know if we’ll be that anymore. And we don’t know what to expect there. And we don’t know who we’ll become.  We have a life here. With people and routines tethered to it.
We’ve sown ourselves into this land and we’ve let this city grow on us as we’ve grown in it. And we’ve called this home.
Everytime we get comfortable and build a life for ourselves, it’s time to get a new home.
Who will we be? If we’re never home?” Heart cried.

Mr. Reason never liked this gooey emotional stuff. Heart and Reason always had their differences. He always wanted to optimize every solution with raw data and effective results. She, on the other hand. She’s a mystery. But I am sure she means well. None of us really understand her. She’s apparently responsible for keeping this company alive, but okay, whatever.

Heart, this is the city you’ve always dreamt of living in. And this is our dream in front of us. I don’t know if we can afford to have cold feet now.” Reason countered.

“Yeah, we definitely can’t afford that. Considering all that we’re spending on these other things that our CFO mentioned.” Humor winked.

“I need a moment.” Heart stormed out with wet eyes.

This usually happened. Heart is such a drama queen.

There was a small pause and awkward silence again. But Reason took charge again.
“Oh well, let’s resume, we absolutely have no time to waste. We need to buy new suitcases because of the new airline regulations.”

The CFO, groaned.  

After about 35 minutes of productive discussion, itineraries were made, a packing checklist was prepared, relevant contacts were acquired, and goodbyes were scheduled. Just about then, the door burst open and Heart walked in. She said,

“Oh good, you guys are still here. I wanted to apologize for my little episode. Anyway, I thought about it a lot. And I think we’re ready for this. What I realized is that life is not meant to be lived in one place. There is so much out there that we haven’t seen yet. There are so many experiences we haven’t had, yet. And just because we’re comfortable, here and now, doesn’t mean we should stop ourselves from exploring. That would stop us from growing! And just because we’re leaving things behind, doesn’t mean we won’t remember them. I’ll store them. The people. The places. The words. The moments. The memories. I’ll keep them here and perform multiple back-ups. So, it’ll be safe. And always here. And I’ll clear out the junk drawer and we’ll put new stuff in there. New people. New places. New memories.

Another thing that worried me was that if we moved so much, we’d never really have some place to call home. But I’ve come to fathom that we have an identity. We’ve come to build a good human, all of us, together. We’ve put so much work into it, we’ve chiseled it from scratch, and we’re proud of it. This identity. This adventurous person that we’ve built, who’s truly living life, truly taking all the chances we get. And no matter where we go, who we meet, for however short a period of time.

This identity. That’s home. And as long as we have that, we’ll always be home.”

Everyone nodded along. But I’m sure the CEO was just glad to wrap up the meeting with a unanimous decision.

Yes, we are moving, yet again.

There’s really something about that heart girl. She may be moody, and hard to understand. But she’s wise too, sometimes. Because on those rough nights, when doubt cleaves me apart, her words still hold me together.  

This identity. That’s home. And as long as we have that, we’ll always be home.”

Meghana Kumar


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