When Being in Transit Feels Like Dwelling
It was March of 2018. I used to be burnt out and emotionally exhausted from a poisonous work scenario I used to be lastly freed from. The very first thing I did was purchase a cross-country prepare ticket. I wanted to depart Los Angeles and be on the street for a very long time. There was one thing about chugging alongside for days on finish that sounded therapeutic and peaceable. It could give me the time to gather my ideas and course of what had simply occurred.
I particularly didn’t wish to fly wherever and arrive at a vacation spot in a brief period of time. As a result of arriving meant expectations — expectations to elucidate myself to individuals I knew, expectations to discover a place to remain, expectations to make plans for what to do whereas I used to be there. I needed to maintain on touring, keep on the prepare, stay on this house of being in between.
Being in between is a really snug place for me. I used to be born in Mexico to a Mexican mom and Lebanese father, however grew up culturally Mexican. My mother and I migrated to the US once I was eight years outdated. Rising up right here, I used to be all the time confused about my identification. When individuals noticed me, they assumed I used to be simply Arab, despite the fact that I mainly knew nothing about Lebanese tradition. I didn’t really feel Mexican-American or Chicana both, as a result of I wasn’t born right here. However I additionally didn’t really feel absolutely Mexican. This fixed confusion meant I lived within the grey day by day. Being in between, not absolutely one factor, was the norm. Regardless of the teenage angst I skilled consequently, my blended identification finally allowed me to look past the binary. To really feel secure when issues aren’t black or white, to favor not getting from level A to level B simply.
Maybe that’s why I really feel at residence once I’m in transit. Each time I arrive at a brand new vacation spot, there’s a kind of disappointment at having to face the world once more. Whereas in transit, time is suspended. I can simply exist as I’m in that second.
Whereas on the prepare that spring, I discovered a deep sense of calm watching the world go by for hours with nowhere to be, no rush to get wherever. Time misplaced its linear which means.
I received to see backyards in Pennsylvania, lakes in Ohio, snowy rivers in West Virginia, and rail yards in Los Angeles. Alongside the best way, I met prepare lovers, bikers, retired coal miners, an Amish saleswoman going to Las Vegas, and a development employee from the Navajo Nation on his strategy to LA. There was one thing intimate about us being on this prepare for hours, generally days. We could be completely completely different, however we had been all, in a approach, caught there. Conversations naturally sprung up with individuals I might have by no means met in any other case.
Submit-pandemic journey has modified this. Whereas street journeys had been a salve for me and my accomplice throughout lockdown, prepare journeys weren’t. Being conscious of an airborne virus whereas touring for prolonged durations of time with masked strangers takes away that liberating nature of prepare journey and replaces it with paranoia. I’m undecided if it is going to ever be the identical. However I’ll all the time have fond recollections of that snow storm in West Virginia, staring out the massive home windows within the lounge automotive, feeling absolute tranquility, of the oranges and yellows of New Mexico at dawn, of constructing it again to Los Angeles after over a month on the street, feeling renewed and with a way of acceptance for the grey areas of life.