Nose pressed against the window, you watch the world go by. Maybe you’re in a train or a bus or a boat. On one side of you, you might have a seatmate who wedges a strange sack of goods where your leg room should be. Or a heavy sleeper whose wobbly head insists on using your shoulder as a pillow.
It’s probably too hot or too cold. Your seat may not recline properly. Maybe you’re by yourself, alone with only a head full of thoughts that are sure to come undone without any activities or people to repress them. And it’s hours to your next destination.
But on the other side of you, through the glass, you see dramatic cloud forested mountains or unexpected rock formations jutting out of the ground or mind-bending desert scenery or a coastline that’s so beautiful beyond anything you could imagine that you don’t dare to close your eyes because no dream can top it.
You pass through villages and cities and it’s the purest form of cultural observation without your appearance or nationality to alter everyday human interactions. Inside the vehicle, it’s a cultural stew and you’re the special ingredient for the day and no one knows how it will turn out.
In the unglamorous movement of traveling slowly by land or by water, travel is at its most grand. Life is never as close — the way of life of the people in the new place you’re visiting, the glory of the Earth, and the life within you.