Yes? Good, any travel books laying on top? You know, those large monstrosities gushing with brilliant photography, but collecting food stains and serving their third month as coasters for your coffee? Great. Now, all we need is one more element to put our little puzzle together: the armchair. Unless you’re reading this from the rain forest that you’ve recently adopted as home, I know you have one. Maybe not with arms, but it is “that” chair, or sofa: the dependable friend you trust to cradle your tired body after a hard day’s work.
Excellent. So let’s try something. Instead of coming home and passing that globetrotter exhibit you’ve worked so hard at, pick out one of the books, dust off your armchair and slip into it. Only, before you close your eyes in relaxation, take a good long look at the cover. What do you see staring back at you? Intelligent eyes shining from underneath tribal paint? Maybe a lantern lit tea house on a cobblestone backstreet? I can never forget a photo of smiling, freckle faced children with eastern eyes but natural blond hair.
So, are you ready to go? OK, now lean back, close your eyes and just drift away. Imagine; a breeze meandering through emerald jungle leaves, the scent of mango its gift to your nose; stretched back in a small boat on a far away river market, sweet coconut curry spills across your tongue and down your chin; a blushing bride eludes her new husband’s grasp by horseback, as they gallop across windswept Eurasian steppe; a king’s white marbled monument to his lost love glistens in the rays of a setting sun; the rhythmic trot of a young Bedouin and his camel hastens over warm sand that tingles between your toes. He grins and points south, whispering in French, “the kasbah is close, keep up”…
Did you try it? See, contrary to what the celebrities and rich jet setters would have you believe, the life of an armchair traveler is not so bad. Money, time, apprehension; they are realistic hurdles to getting out there into the beginning of a potentially life changing adventure. So for now, take it step by step and stir that curiosity for God’s green earth and it’s people. Just make sure that from now on, when you do recline into your old friend the armchair, you actually go somewhere.
– Ref. 1: Anthony Pappone’s Surma children photo stream