Marking Real Boundaries

5:21 pm

Planning what to take with you on an adventure is a serious business and to do it justice, I took a day off work and went grocery shopping. 

Accompanying me was my carefully constructed list (crafted with the aid of a 3H Faber-Castell pencil) and just in case you ever decide to go on an adventure and are desperate for some ideas, I present before you the very list:

Grocery shopping always gives me some amount of happiness but in this particular instance, I must admit I was neck-deep in a true rapture.

The adventure was going to be a four day, camping, hiking and tramping-it-up trip in Cornwall, South West England. The adventurers were going to be four mostly-strangers with a plan that albeit wasn’t the most concrete, was a plan full of potential.

So of course, I started by missing the train. To my delight, after some chiding and the ceremonious purchase of some plastic cutlery, I was forgiven and we took the train an hour later.

Unfortunately, a whole bunch of people decided to escape the excitement in the capital about the Queen having reigned over the great big island for 60 years and the train was packed. This meant that we would be standing throughout the five hour long journey to Penzance. 

It turned out okay in the end for the innovator in our group had the brilliant idea of exchanging badly drawn maps of Europe and India and suggesting prospective trip routes to each other. 

Just as the scenery turned interesting, we managed to find seats and spent a happy time looking at large, old bridges and the sea and little villages that looked like they had been constructed out of some special, English, sea-side, Lego set.

The train ride set the tone of our trip. Within the first few minutes, we were brimming with confidence and faith in our ad-hoc collection of open explorers - our small group of strangers gelled so well together that decisions were made with ease and without too much debate.

Over the next few days, we indulged ourselves in our freedom.

 We went on random rambles, spent hours staring at the sea changing colour from green to aquamarine to blue to turquoise, hitch-hiked, helped set up and bring down each other’s tents, climbed up and down strange looking rocks, ate glorious meals together, drank strong Cornish cider, walked for miles in the rain, waited eternities for buses, took postcard-worthy photographs of each other, laughed without stopping, and created our own set of loose rules - Snickers were for sharing, bad jokes were celebrated and most important of them all, there was to be no small talk - a demand that everyone met with grace, spilling out stories from a different time, life and culture with the familiarity of childhood friends.

When we got back to London, I mentioned the dreaminess of the whole trip and how difficult it was going to be to get back to ‘real-life’ and then one of my companions pointed out that I was wrong in marking these boundaries. Our trip was equally as ‘real-life’ as a full working day.

Trying to understand what it was exactly about the trip that had elevated my soul so much, I stumbled upon a memory. As children, my friends and I considered a tent to be the essential ingredient of a long drawn out game that we played indoors on hot afternoons; the player in an orchestra of upturned chairs, bed-sheets, cushions, fake musical instruments, flash lights and snack bags.

Conducting and participating in this orchestra together gave us endless delight. But what was always relished the most, and in silence, was in fact a moment that was wholly personal – that first instance of finding yourself in a world that was entirely your own, one that you, the artist, the architect, the engineer, the musician, the explorer, created.

I think in addition to feeling the warmth of close friends,  sharing such rich experiences together, discovering unique layers of each other's strong personalities, each of us also found this personal feeling again on our adventure in Cornwall.  

My friend made me realize that technically speaking, there isn't really anything stopping me from feeling the same way again, soon, today, now.

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