By Amir Bagheri
Alike for those who for today prepare,
And those that after some tomorrow stare,
A Mu’adhin from the Tower of Darkness cries
‘Fools! Your reward is neither here nor there!’
– Omar Khayyam
I cringe a little every time someone tells me that all they want to do in life is to travel. I am judgemental in this regard, I know. Not that travelling is bad. I just doubt people’s purpose when it comes to travelling sometimes of rather the reasons for the want of it.
There is more to travelling than food, “culture”, and a whole lot of Instagram.
We talk about the gentrification of spaces more than we ever have. It is activism porn these days. But when are we going to talk about the gentrification of ideas and philosophy?
“I just wanna become rich, and travel the world. Eat different kinds of food and have sex with exotic men”.
“Oh, I don’t eat raw fish…”
– Also Her
The process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste.
Historically, people travelled to survive from their harsh realities. War. Famine. Or simply to just get away from their community and family.
Travelling was not a privilege limited to those who could afford it. It was a necessity for survival.
“I am very grateful for people visiting our village. It makes me happy that people want to eat our food and take pictures with us whilst wearing our traditional clothes. But it sometimes makes me feel like I am stuck in a zoo. And I don’t have enough money to leave this place. I am stuck in this place.”
– Hajime (an old man, I spoke with, who once lived in Narai-juku)
I don’t think you can truly soul-search if you are not willing to fully step out of your comfort zone, and fully embrace everything about the places you travel to.
Stay with a local, for more than a few days,
Respect and practise their rituals,
Have an open mind,
Truly immerse and educate yourself in their beliefs and their prayers.
In this issue:
The Place That Gave Me Inner Peace – Amir Bagheri
City Wailers – Mthabisi Sithole
this is how we stayed young – Nkateko Masinga
Paraphernalia – Mthabisi Sithole
Nostrils of a monster – Junaid Ashraf
A moment with Stephen King – Mandlenkosi Phakathi
The Hallways weep at night – Nomthandazo NXABELA
I exist – Daniela Noser
Daily Mundane or Wilderness – Hlabi Moetanalo