citizen of the bardo

I think it was this photo.

… that made me and my girlfriend change our plans, mid-sentence from…

“Let’s just go. We’ve been planning this trip to Kashmir for months!”
to…

Fresh protests erupt in Indian Kashmir

“Hum. Maybe not.”

And suddenly I find myself in Thailand; sweltering under both monsoon heat and the trail end of a three-day 102 degree fever.

Don’t worry; the fever bit is just my body’s fiery way of detoxifying what’s left of a country in me right before I leave it. You’ll find records of these repeat incinerations throughout my archives, in the sweat soaked and twisted sheets of the airport hostels in Madrid, Antiqua, Calcutta and Bangkok. It’s a fact of my body/travels with which I’ve been forced into a delirious peace treaty.

So. Temperature at a steady and un-medicated 99 (yea!) with street-stand Thai-iced tea in hand I, today, come to you. Forgive me my delirium-ramble, as I’m still spinning from the surprise severance of my South Asia adventures, which was as blunt as the fever hot. In response to the baffled stares of the hostel staff downstairs, I have quickly relearned to rename “curd” as “yogurt” and “motor rickshaw” as “tuk tuk.” May you, as well, practice patience with me as I stutter through these sentences and this transition.

Tibetans identify this state of being by a word I (probably inappropriately) use and (perhaps unhealthily) spend a majority of my life in: “bardo.” Which means something like, “liminal passage, intermediate state, the state of consciousness in the course of migration between death and rebirth.” Yep. That’s what I’m putting on my next immigration form in the box asking for, “country of permanent residence.”

Now, I haven’t posted in over a month and I’ve got years of editing and entries to catch up on, which is about to change as I devote the next five months to exactly these creative pursuits. Writing. Posting. Not traveling. Because the realization has only JUST dawned upon me (I’m slow!) that remote travel and the processing/posting of its inherent experiences are two circles that are close to mutually exclusive. I know. Mind blowing realization for me to have just stumbled upon. But yes. I have to sit. In one place. At a computer. To put it all together. And that is the plan. (But don’t hold me to it, because as you well know, sometimes I’m all talk.)

What I have not yet confessed is that sometime in the spring of 2003, while deep in pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago, I pulled a pen out of my red bandanna and wrote the following into my journal:

“7 Years of Movement; 7 Years of Stillness”

As with many of the sentences that I hastily scribble down, I wasn’t sure what it meant, or what seed, exactly, I had planted into my life path with that statement. But here I am. At the conclusion of what I estimate to be (an accumulation of) 7 years of travels abroad.

And for the FIRST time in my life, I am ready.

Ready for what?

Stillness, friends.

Stillness.

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*sol bows her “namaste” and gratitude to World Nomads Travel Insurance, ThinkHost and Merc for their ever-supporting roles in the realization of her dream.

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4 Comments

  1. Shilpa Sachdev July 21, 2008 at 8:36 am

    Hey Christina…would love to be your friend…this is shilpa frm india…got to know u fm aparna….write in at write2shilpa@gmail.com

  2. Anonymous July 16, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    WOW 7 yrs I’ve been reading about your life!?!? Perhaps more, since I was a silent fan from your CC-days! Always great to read/see what you are up to!

  3. Anonymous July 16, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    stillness. I love it. I love information so much more! Where will you be so still?

  4. diana en taganga July 15, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    hola cristina
    como estas .soy diana de techos azules. es un placer
    saludarte. mira mi correo.dianagiral@hotmail.com. me gustaria saber de ti.
    jonathan esta aqui el chico de california
    el habla de ti . bueno espero me escribes. un abrazo enorme . chaooooo.

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