Imagine a Magnum. The ice-cream.
Imagine it embedded with chunks of hazelnut and coated with an extra layer of rich chocolate.
Now imagine yourself holding that ice-cream in the middle of a hot day. What a bloody treat, right?
Okay, now if you don’t mind, let’s take it one step further; imagine yourself in possession of one of those magnificent Magnums every day. Day after day, you wake up and you see an ice-cream and you know it’s yours!
How long is that Magnum, I wonder, going to remain a bloody treat?
A large part of the appeal we find in travel is rooted in the novelty of the sights and experiences we come across. The magnificent temples enveloped in a veil of history and oriental spiritualism; the roaring waterfalls bursting out of the green like some trick of nature, the vaguely exhilarating feeling of the thump of a new stamp on your passport. Those are some of the main reasons we travel. And yet, those very reasons can, over time, dissipate into a dull sense of been-there-done-that.
And in that sense, traveling tends to be a little like a Magnum ice cream.
An ancient temple is an unforgettable sight. A second temple is a priceless lesson in history. But a third temple is merely a temple.
A waterfall is a natural phenomenon. A second waterfall is still a sight to behold. But the third waterfall, wait, how much did you say it costs to get there?
“You went to Iguazu Falls, right?” Asks the middle-aged Dutch adventurer I’ve just met. I’m nearing the end of my year-long journey around South America and he is half-way through his, accompanied by his wife, who waves at me from another table.
“Yeah, I worked in a hostel near the falls for a few weeks.” I wave back.
“Well, you know what I mean then. Once You’ve seen that waterfall, you cannot really be impressed by any other waterfall, right?” He raises his beer, dismissing all the other falls in one great sweep.
“Yeah, Iguazu has ruined all the other waterfalls for me”
He laughs at my attempted joke, but no sooner have the words left my mouth than I regret saying them. But we soon move on from that topic, having many other destinations to compare on our respective lists.
A few months after that conversation, I return home to Melbourne. Determined to offset the post-travel blues, a few friends and I start a tradition of monthly camping trips, and during one of those, we come across a waterfall hidden in a rain-soaked, emerald green forest.
And as I stand there, the cold mountain air rejuvenating me, I realize that Iguazu Falls hadn’t ruined all waterfalls for me after all.
When you have been out for a while,
When too may temples become a malaise;
Perhaps it’s best to stop,
And admit that you’ve seen enough;
That it’s not a race,
Then you ought to go home,
And find a new way of looking at things,
Let things mundane change form,
Before your very eyes,
And take on the form of things interesting.
But when the time comes again,
Don’t hesitate to pack your bags up and go,
Don’t hesitate to be fearless, be free,
Because if you don’t,
Then what you see now,
Will be all that you will ever see.
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