You can always tell a traveller when you see one. They seem absorbed in their own thoughts – not really participating in the world around them – just on the move, focused on their ultimate destination. You see this in the faces of commuters, people at the airport, drivers on the road.
I think that travelling is the closest some of us will ever come to being in a trance. What is a trance if not a travelling of the spirit outside of the body? The gaze turns inward and the spirit is set free – free to go wherever it likes.
It’s the same on the road. The inside of the car stays the same – you barely shift position, but the scenery outside flies past and your mind focuses on the destination. In a way, you stop existing when you’re in transit. You’re not where you started and you’re not where you’ll end – you’re in an inbetween place. It’s easy to forget that other people – people in the place you’ve left and the place you’re going to – are doing other things. You’ve been driving for so long that you begin to think that they’re suspended in Time and Existence along with you. You begin to think of them like they’re in another time-zone. It’s 3:00 PM now where they are, they’re doing X. I imagine that it’s the same for them. You’re not “here” and you’re not “there” and you’ve ceased to be a tangible entity for anyone. No one is willing to take responsibility for your reality.
I love seeing the Bay Area for the first time on my return journey. I forget about the traffic, the crowds, the pollution, the fact that there’s nothing to do at home. When I see the bridges and the lights and the water for the first time I always think it’s beautiful. I always think it’s romantic and full of possibility. I roll down the windows and let my hand ride the breeze. And I think to mself, “I’m back.”