i’m writing to you from the road leading west from madagascar’s capital of antananarivo towards tamatave. i'm soothed by watching time pass through the window. the landscape changes from bright green rice fields and rolling red clay hills to eucalyptus forests. lush rainforests broad leaves and orchids turn into dry brush and knobby roots peeking out along the rough secondary roads, unearthed by the rainy season.
there’s six of us packed into an old nissan 4x4. after a 15-hour bumpy ride along the national road, we crawl out with wobbly legs and cross a canal to arrive in ambila-lemaitso. once there, we’ll stay for five days without electricity, cooking over charcoal and playing cards by candlelight. during the day we take turns watching out for each other as we take turns greeting the ocean’s choppy waves. we take refuge from the sun under the pink flowers of the Sea Poison tree. but movement is just as important as being rooted. after four nights, we run out of necessities and leave covered in sand. knowing when to go is just as important as deciding to stay.
people often say you «find yourself» through travel. but i don't believe we ever find ourselves in a singular sense. there’s too much life to remember to ever have a complete story. a willingness to be repeatedly found also means being open to the possibility of being lost, over and again. i hold this practice sacred, dedicating seven transformative years to exploration, spanning continents and countries, seeking new facets of myself in each context. these glimpses form a bigger picture, shaping me entirely.
surrender found me during a long bush taxi journey, shedding all my illusions of urgency. costly struggles, such as fighting and losing against a french landlord, taught me invaluable lessons and acceptance of the privilege of hindsight. seeing my beloved grandma’s face in someone across the world revealed our eternal interconnectedness. and nothing can replace the joy of finally learning how to offer compliments in a new language and watching it land across the face of a new friend.
back in the capital, distinctive jacaranda trees are not the same as those that grow in cdmx or in johannesburg. i, too, change, away from home. there’s a relief that comes with the unknown. and it defies preparation, making way for the wild divine that always exceeds expectations – and even my hope. i embark on the next journey.