Familiarity and routine is something cherished by most: it provides structure, reassurance, and confidence in knowing what’s coming next. But then, there’s me, and often, I just don’t like routine.
Most weekends, I travel. I love it — honestly, I do, because there’s always something new, something different, and of course, something unexpected — I’m L, what do you expect? Sitting down on a Friday evening, packing my rucksack for a busy Saturday ahead, I can never say with certainty that I know what I will have been through in 24 hours time. I have no idea who I might meet on my journey, what I might get up to, where I might end up — the possibilities for adventure are infinite. Travelling isn’t structured, or organised, meticulously planned out on an A4 piece of paper, laminated and slid neatly into my bag — no, no of course not. But I love that.
Travelling is freedom. Travel gives me the opportunity to throw the towel in once or twice a week, and reinvent myself. Those people on the train — they don’t know me. They know nothing about the (I like to think mysterious-looking) solo traveller sat two rows in front of them, earphones in, iPad out. For all they know, i’m a child actor, or a university student (with unnaturally short legs), or a teen prodigy in the art of sculpting. That freedom — that disconnection from reality — is such a relief at the end of yet another week where I’m labelled, boxed in and pushed from place to place, thought of not as a human being, but as a machine, efficiently transported from A to B, with no diversions. I mean, it’s not like I’m going around lying to people — “Random stranger sat on the train: I’m a child genius. Have a nice day!!!”
But there are no prejudices; I look independent, and in that world, if you look independent, then independent you are. Look confident? The ‘confident walk’ is second nature.
In some fucked up way, it’s fitting in AND being completely different all at once — it’s so bizarre. I’m being so different BECAUSE I’m fitting in; suddenly I’m part of the crowd — part of the majority, and I love it. When the train’s delayed, I’m part of that collective sigh of silent british rage — emotions are banned here in the UK; it’s against our laws. And, when the tens of people all fall this way and that on a full-and-standing cross-London commuter service, I can be part of that nervous laughter, those sheepish mmiles and those awkward conversation starters — that’s so different for me, because I can fit in.
“Fitting in is bad.” Sometimes, yeah, fitting in is too much of an easy option, when all you want to do is stand-out and be yourself. sometimes, though, when you stand-out almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, fitting in is something of a relief — an escapist’s approach to reality, you might call it.
I hoep my cliché vibes and lengthy words haven’t put you off too much: I’m a real and serious kinda guy, honestly. but we all need to escape, and I just wanted to chat about my own personal form of escapism.