Travel … the concentrated, determined movement from Place A to Place Z, flowing through all the minute B to Y (and the rest!) transitional places in between.
Take away Place Z and this is my current life. A state of being in transit.
So far I have used predominantly a bike, numerous occasions on foot (often hauling and cajoling the bike), several trucks, a few buses, the odd train, a number of vans, a couple of cars, 3 boats, 2 scooters, various auto-rickshaws, 2 aeroplanes and 1 man-powered rickshaw (which after much persuasion and great amusement was powered by Ben).
Being in transit doesn’t have to have the connotations of not caring or of being unconscious of the in-between spaces. After all, the negative space gives structure and context to the positive space. Each needs the other in a symbiotic dance. Everything is in relationship to other.
My ideal is the seamless flow from one state to the next, the recognition of the transitions for their capacity to connect and bridge places. These places and processes having colour and texture in their own right, are not just adjuncts to the main event of the ‘points’ of the journey. To see them as that is to miss out on a large chunk of the time and space they take.
It is also for the capacity to enjoy the very different modes of travel which are open to me and to be able to experience the different aspects of a place and time which come with these different types of transport.
Travel for the love of it and with the capacity to choose the means is a very different thing from the majority of people I see. Travel on buses and on foot seem to be the majority through India and Nepal, with motorbikes taking on an increasingly mainstream role, especially as more roads open up. Surprisingly they are very practical for some hideously steep regions and thankfully reduce the isolation of mountain and hillside communities in Nepal.
It is very common to see women and children in Nepal with head straps attached to huge wicker baskets filled with containers of water or sacks of rice or a weeks provisions or all 3.
The amount of weight that people are carrying is unfathomable to me. The head straps and slings can be seen in the hands of people as they walk through Kathmandu as well as in the rural areas and seem to be prized pieces of equipment as they can be utilized at a moments notice for fast employment as the transit of goods from place to place is always necessary.
I wonder at the opportunity or desire that people have at these times to enjoy transitions the way I do. My suspicion is that the spaces between start and finish, location and destination are to be got through as quickly, safely and painlessly as possible.
Its another reminder of my luck to be able to travel physically and emotionally the way I do.
And so why not support people in moving around the Bristol locality more easily and maintaining easier accesses to different necessary services as well their social lives and their various communities?
The Bristol Bike Project supports refugees, asylum seekers and runs women-specific bike maintenance sessions. Bike are an amazing resource to develop confidence and access the world, whatever you choose that to mean!