In Transit – I borrowed that catchy phrase from the disquieting status we are branded with while incarcerated in a foreign airport, pending an onward flight to our final destination. It struck me as a curious state to be in – a little like a refugee, but without all the war, hunger, and pestilence that is the plight of such tragic souls.
However, in an immeasurably more benign sense, the In Transit traveller is temporarily relieved of his liberty, denied his free will to roam at leisure and step out into the light to feel the fresh breeze of freedom on his face; he exists in a geopolitical nowhere; not in one country nor the other; all but disenfranchised, adrift in global limbo, the way it used to be before the world was carved up into little chunks of nations, flags, and fiercely defended ideologies. But, to step back for a moment and ponder the concept of – In Transit – from the wider perspective, it becomes apparent that we are all permanently In Transit, in one sense.
In reality, no matter how permanent and well established we believe we are, in the cosy niche we might have carved out for ourselves, the fact is, we are only here for life; and then, we must check out and leave our toys and trinkets to the grieving soul, whose name lies secreted into the pages of our last will and testament.
And so, it seemed appropriate to adopt the principle of, In Transit, as a kind of mantra, acknowledging a more accurate perspective on life; a philosophy that honours our perpetual state of impermanence; and, whether I am at home in London, where the bricks and mortar reside, or living and working in Mexico City, or Hanoi, or any of the other places I delight in calling “home” for varying periods of time, I am always, In Transit; and, should I ever doubt that statement, the unquestionable certainty of my mortality, firmly, but caringly, puts me straight.
And what is the pay-off from such a mindset, you might be wondering. Well, it can be very liberating. It can stop you taking life, and yourself, too seriously. It can stop you clutching jealously on to things, for fear of losing them, because, one day, you will definitely lose them anyway, and that takes the pressure off the idea that you must maintain everything forever and ever and ever.
For me, personally, being out of my comfort zone, especially in certain parts of the world, allows me to learn things I would never otherwise have learned, because we cannot learn in a vacuum; and while I am learning, I am growing. I am no horticulturist, but I believe plants have a growing phase and a dying phase – if they are not growing, they are dying, and we, as humans, are not so different in that respect.
So, long may I be In Transit, which I always will be, whether I like it or not; and fortunately, that’s not such a bad place to be.
Barry Huggins is an author, freelance writer and photographer.