Come I may but Go I MUST!
Kim watched outside the aircraft window. She pressed her forehead so hard against the glass that her make up greased the window, leaving white residue on it. The flight captain had just dimmed the cabin light and the aircraft was cruising through the stratosphere at a height of 35,000 ft. Kim stared at the vastness of the sky outside. She could see the tropopause far down below her and it gave her a different high. She was not flying for the first time though. At 23, she has already travelled to 18 countries. Most of her trips were within Europe as she accompanied her Dad, who worked for a pharmaceutical company.
But this time around, it was different. Having just completed her Post Graduation in History from Leicester University, for the first time Kim was travelling alone. It seemed to her as if her long woven dreams were finally coming true. The Wanderlust struck her early, very early. At just 6, she was already dreaming of a holiday among kangaroos and koalas Down Under. In fact, Kim, kind of inherited her lust for globetrotting. Her Mom taught English in many African and Asian countries before marrying her father and settling down. Her Dad was a busy globetrotter right from his college days and later on managed a top post in a reputed multinational pharmaceutical company. Her elder sister and also her soul mate, Ashley was a lecturer in geography at UCLA. It was from Ashley’s mad interest in geography that Kim learned about places around the world since her days in primary school.
By the time Kim was in her teenage, she became so obsessed with travelling that she would customize holidays on her own, making her dream itineraries and pin them up on her bedroom wall. She dreamt of a camel safari in the Sahara, a hike to Machu Pichu, standing on the Great Wall of China and splashing the colours of Holi in India. During the times when she was not travelling with her Dad, Kim would be engrossed in her thoughts, which would take her to a faraway village in some distant land.
The only poem that Kim ever memorized in her entire school days was Gerald Gould’s Wander Thirst. The line, “…Come I may but go I must,” became her favourite one-liner. She never committed to her boyfriend. For her, freedom to travel the whole world came before every other priority in life. She wanted to set foot on every country by the time she reached her winter days and on completing her Post Graduation, she realized that she was running out of time. Thus, soon she packed her bags and out she was, flying high……high above all her homely bindings, above all her difficulties and worries.
So, Kim was now a free bird…..free to explore the world on her own. She is determined not to let her gender come in her way……something her Dad seemed to bother about. Considering that this was her first solo travel, she chose her destination consciously. Kim was always enthusiastic about Central Asia and the Mid-East because of its rich history and culture. No wonder, she was travelling to Moscow, from where she had a connecting flight to Tashkent. Yes, she chose Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara to be her first escape to a distant land, far away from her homeland, and for a history graduate cum travel enthusiast like her, where else could that be?
As she saw the first ray of light far beyond the horizon, she smiled and thought…..’Oh Jesus, this is just the beginning!” 🙂