Many encounters and experiences later my three month travel around the world has come to an end. An old ambition achieved. Yeah, even a dream come true. Not in the least and indeed above all due to the fact that I have signed, sealed and delivered my heart to my... Nomadic partner in crime, Sweet soulmate, Love of my life, Wife.
I feel lucky. I feel free. As much as a nomad exploring all paths groovy can ever be...
I have seen the sunrise and sunset on different ends of the world; the pitch black night lit up by the celestial bodies; the deepest dark blue oceans covered by eternal waves. And time and time again I have seen endless horizons urging a Nomad on.
I have followed the musical trail of Jazz, Blues and Rock and Roll. Beholding holy ground at their birthplaces. I have heard the Native American drums of the First Nations. The beat of the proud Pacific Islanders. The mighty war cries of the Melanesians and Maori.
Everywhere I went I felt at home and most everywhere a nomad blended in. But only at the end of my travels there was somehow a deeper sense of belonging. Several weeks into my Indonesian journey I found myself on a slow boat through the Nusa Tenggara islands where I befriended my Bugis captain.
Being put in a confined space for a certain period of time, in the presence of both Europeans and Indonesians, somehow I got a slight sense of what the historic position of Indo-Europeans as the intermediaries of the East Indies might have felt like. Somehow always establishing your position between these 2 parties and utilising the maximum of your emphatic skills to bridge cultural divides that only you could pinpoint. Sometimes I even had the strange feeling that navigating around all of this might alienate 1 or the other party.
Conversations with my western contemporaries were often more intellectually stimulating and touched upon a vast array of topics. But that my brain, most of the time, processes things from a European perspective was something I already knew about myself. So somehow my talks with the old Bugis captain were more intense and gratifying. Was that because he acknowledged me as a distant relative, a child rooted in the same world he was from and somehow I also belonged with them?
Did he just recognise me for the ‘nassi’ snatcher I am, that liked and even preferred the same tastes he liked. The sweet kretek cigarettes we shared on the foredeck in the middle of the night or the ‘pisang goreng’ he suddenly made for me one afternoon, even though it was Ramadan. Was it the ‘es kacang’ I enjoyed with the crew, on our last day on the boat in Flores before I disembarked? Did that touch the inner core of my identity as an Indo-European? And does that mean my identity isn’t that nomadic at all?
Did I really relate more to his way of viewing and experiencing the world? Was my sense and sensibility indeed more like his and did I simply feel more at home with him than with my European contemporaries, that (I superfluously add) have always been my main framework for benchmarking? And does that mean I am also, or still, a displaced person after so many generations? More than anything else these last 3 months my encounter with the Bugis captain triggered my feelings of duality.
For the time being still a nomad... Letting the path be my destination