By Pathum Punchihewa
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the en road…
Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself; will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?
By Walt Whitman
I am a vagabond and it’s not shameful to me to be frank. This post is also one of my bigger vagabonding dreams... And this is the ‘song of the open road’… A world of vagabonds…
Now I am sitting in front of a favourite spot of many vagabonds. Galle face beach… When you come down to this area which marks a significant memory lane even deep down in history, you will see only a vast crowd and the great ocean. But I see differently. I see lives that float around me; I see ocean waves that never changed for the past 100 years. And I feel the colonial ruins that still delve amongst us as a feeling…
Did you ever try “Isso Wade” from the mini carts that are parked alongside ‘Galle face beach’? If your answer is no, it’s such a shame, you have missed the ingredients that complete a ‘perfect Galle face eve’!
When I was a kid, I have been taught that ‘Vagabonding’ is bad. And today I think that my teachers taught me not to waste the time by just ‘hanging around’ and talking nonsense, not this Vagabonding. Because when the tune of Open road calls me, I always learn something fresh, something new. And I never had time to waste in my journeys either…
I have walked within the roads of Colombo, taking a good look around, beholding the lives of people that pass me. And those journeys make me more close to mankind. And bring out new ideas to share with the world.
As a vagabond, there are many territories that are within my sovereignty. There are Art galleries, theaters, Coffee lounges, cultural centers, beaches; clubs etc which all share the same empire despite myriads of open roads. And always those places make my life vivid, make my feelings vibrant, and always those vagabonding journeys add more colour to my life and will my world with a spirit of living!
I have a dream that I want to make come true one day and I always dearly recall. I want to pack my needy things to a backpack and take my Camera and Guitar and Vagabond around the world. I want to see myself in the Varanasi, Colorful Rajasthan deserts, Old buildings of Kolkata, Kajurao, and beautiful Uti Mountains in India before I die. I want to walk on Andalusia mountain planes of Spain. I want to hear folk songs sung by Romani people in the night. I want to go to Angkor Watt in Cambodia. I want to go to French villages that border from Alps range. O, I have such dreams and I want to share all those vagabonding peregrinations with you…
‘Backpackers subculture’ emerges after a long time of the arisen of ‘Hippie culture’. Nevertheless despite the certain ideological differences, both Backpackers and Hippies share the passion of Open Roads, the allure to see the world, meet people.
The purpose of this article is telling you about how amazing the world itself is and and how precious life is... Yes, it’s a weird way but if you feel like life is boring, you are tired with your day to day routines; I think I introduced a new world to you. This is your chance to see the true colors that make the world beautiful. It is your chance to see how many perspectives are there. It is time to change how you think…
Maybe you will say this Saga is an entanglement of nothing but dream to do my friends, but we are inside a dream of a Vagabonding pilgrimage… and that is indeed reality in the making.
Vagabonding has its own glamour. And it will only appear in front of eyes of people who want to see the world, who love people, who love the world, who really want to live before they live. Come my friends, let’s translate this together. “The Song of the Open Road”… it means “free thoughts, tireless feet… there is a marvelous world in front of your eyes…”
Published on Daily Mirror (23rd December 2010)