As I sat on the bus heading downtown, something about the way the “Stop Requested” lights shone made me feel like I was somewhere else. Like I was travelling somewhere foreign.
And I thought about how some people will never travel. They either don’t have the resources or the desire to leave their home cities. It must feel just too scary to leave, to venture somewhere where people do things differently. It’s a survival instinct. Our brains are wired to ask, “How will I find what I need to feel comfortable when I get there?”
When my stop came, I got out and waited for my connecting bus. I stood there looking around me, trying to picture Calgary through the eyes of a tourist. To me, the city is easy. Downtown is a grid, people are friendly, and thanks to a strong urban sprawl, it’s not too crowded.
Just as I’m thinking this, a couple from New Zealand walks up to me to ask where the CORE Shopping Centre is. And I had to think about it, so I pulled out Google Maps and reaffirmed my instinct that they were only a block away. But the fact that I had to do that, as someone who lives here, is a testament that travel isn’t easy. What if I didn’t have cell service and couldn’t load Google Maps? So, add in that it’s a totally unfamiliar city, and these things take time, patience, and a little bit of fearlessness.
It’s been so long now since I’ve truly travelled. Yes, last year I was back in Jordan and took a vacation to New York, but they’re both places I’ve been to before. Jordan is especially familiar now. I travel through Amman just as easily as I navigate Calgary.
And it has me missing the fear a little bit. The anticipation of, “is this going to be good or bad?” has its merits. All travellers must be chasing that mild adrenaline rush cause by the fear of the unknown.