Have you ever experienced an initial pain or illness that seemed to open the door to all types of other issues? Kind of like a gateway situation so to speak, which puts you right where you thought you couldn’t go.
Recently, I experienced that and to say the very least it put me in a really good place but first I had to go through growing pains from my past.
Though this journey was not a planned trip it happened nonetheless, I had extenuating circumstances that required me to travel to Guyana. While in the air leaving Afghanistan the words of a close relative hit me “You cannot continue to run. You have to face everything eventually, stop running and come back.” And though I was more than ready to simple get this trip over, I experienced this familiar yet distant calming of my soul. Something pulled at me, beaconing me to be the man I have grown into, no extra… just Taz.
While on my four day excursion to the beautiful Caribbean and coastal country of Guyana, I pondered a lot. I hopped on one plane to the next from Kandahar, Afghanistan to Qatar, then France, making a quick pit stop in Portugal to have dinner and gather some items from home. Then off again to meet up with family during my layover just to arrive at destination location Georgetown, Guyana. During this trip I not only crossed multiple time zones but I saw the most amazing views from the skies since —I could not sleep which also left me with a lot of time to think.
When I was younger and as a teenager, there were many decisions made for me which is normal amongst many, if not all. But somewhere along the path to manhood, I came of age mentally before anyone in my family knew it. I chose to practice a different religion and accepted an alternative lifestyle, and even worse I voiced it adamantly. I reacted to the disdain of my family and the judgments of these individuals like they owed me something, like they had to accept me. And for this I was wrong. There was no tact in how I did it; I was a teenager who acted rashly. While I could go on and point the blame at other individuals for my actions or reactions, that is not the purpose of this Jaunt.
This Jaunt is about me.
My self-acceptance that I had to develop, and the respect I feel I owe my family and the world in which I live. As years had gone by and I remained estranged, it was all running back to me while I was in transit. I knew I would now have to practice what I preach to the utmost during this trip. I know there are certain things about my life that folks will never like, but the acceptance I used to seek was no longer needed. I had to remember the same way I wanted to be respected and treated, was what I would have to give first because after all to many I was still the child, although a grown man— I was still the son and nephew.
Upon arrival it was great to see familiar faces. Among them were friends and relatives that I had not seen in eons and we picked up like we hadn’t spent more than two weeks apart. But the best was just being able to be me; I didn’t speak of things not needed and I ignored what I didn’t like. I kept most opinions to myself unless I excused myself first, though I am sure my facial expressions gave me away. I received quite a few “I dare you looks” which could only mean I gave a look first. 🙂
This journey was a bitter sweet one, but I do not for one second regret it. I enjoyed every bit of it and I even said to my Auntie, “It’s funny we (my siblings and cousins) all grew up and now we are doing the things we used to see you all do, this is life, our life.” To which my Auntie said “You are very insightful, that it is boi, that it is…” as she looked over her sunglasses and placed her hand over mine. See the solid foundation I have is the family unit in which I was brought up on and in is what allows me to just chuck the deuces and disappear when I want; so that I may travel, explore, and live freely.
There are many days as the years progress where we ponder over complicated situations, or maybe question the person we have become. I don’t normally like to think that another person can dictate who we become, but this trip has changed my mind. For better or worse the elders and adults of our youth mold us into the people we have become. If one is lucky you are surrounded by those who teach you the world is yours. Mine taught me that, if I didn’t like it there was always the door, a door to use to escape or explore more possibilities. But little did I know that this door would allow me to return. And for that I am grateful.
As I replay images over and over again in my head about this trip, most of them reaffirm what I thought —or more accurately what I have come to believe about myself. I am nomadic, nothing truly defines me; no name, no lineage, no country can truly engage much less envelop me. But what does engage me is my sense of humanity, a sense of respect that I have to afford everyone even if I do not agree or like their opinions. And if I do not respect them enough to be peaceful at least respect myself enough to not bring reproach upon myself due to misguided behavior.
Jovial Jaunts is a personal blogger series hosted by Tazeem Rumal. Taz will document his travels, share his experiences living abroad, offer his opinions on topics and venture out to ask thought provoking questions.