Through life there are minor details, miniature moments during which there is nothing but stillness. I have not often lived for those.
But the stories within the Transit Issue contain kinetic energy, and also a looming stillness. Both are paramount, working in tandem. In Dina Relles’ “Home, Anywhere” and William Corderio’s “Passing Through,” John Somer’s “Thrill Ride,” Matthew Lane’s “Auto-Drift, or A Devised Dérive and Dérive and Pavan Mano’s essay on the foreign and familiar, there are moments of grand absolution and reflection that become themselves characters of place–times when the writers discover they aren’t who they’d thought all along, or worse, that they were who they always hated.
Sometimes they merely pass through the narrative of others’ lives. We are granted this small privilege often, but rarely do we seize it for something beyond selfishness, the favor asked or trinket bought, directions asked.
Travel is not relegated to white lines and airstream contrails. It is not shackled to motion. We travel to discover ourselves, yes, but we also travel to shed who we’ve become. Perhaps those are one in the same. I recently wrote for Nowhere Magazine, that I often find myself traveling to “make the world not seem as devastatingly vast and incomprehensible as it was. I wanted to break the unmanageable parts of my life into smaller, compartmentalized bits.”
I find that’s true, no matter where I am. So while I have not lived often for these small, quiet moments throughout my travels, I recognize they exist. Whatever makes you hit the road, hit it hard, never stop seeking, striving.
Never yield. Never look back.
“Flying Solo: A Snapshot of Travel Anxiety” by Kenneth Rosen: Behind me the green light was on; bathroom unoccupied. For all I knew it was my last chance and I wondered if I had time to relieve myself, while away my worries, settle my nerves a bit, shake loose the frenetics.
“Defying Persephone’s Call” by Pavan Mano: “Every time we cast our minds back, a sense of nostalgia lightly washes over us. Which is as much about the longing of returning to somewhere familiar, returning home (nostos), as it is about grief (algos). Because memories are of the order of the past; memories are not reality; and every memory – no matter how perfect – is a sobering reminder, in and of itself, that it can never be experienced nor lived again.”
“Home, Anywhere” by Dina Relles: “There is a particular intimacy bred of circumstance. How close you become when your world shrinks around a shared experience—like when strangers kiss during the spirited intensity of the Boston Marathon or trail mates abandon conventions of personal space and hygiene along the Appalachian to share a sleeping bag or salami.”
“Passing Through” by William Corderio: “The Avis contract specifies we lose our money—all of it—if we don’t pull in the lot by closing time, which is midnight Pacific time, and we’ve already borrowed against the money we’ll earn just paying for the gas to get out this far. So, yeah, we have a date and the fairy’s told us we’ll turn to pumpkins if we don’t make it.”
“Thrill Ride” by John Somer: “We rode seven more roller coasters over the course of the next four hours. Rashid didn’t ride any of them with us. He just watched. Not once did he complain. Not once did he show any sign of displeasure. He remained pleasant, smiling, upbeat. When we reunited with him after each ride, he asked us how it was and listened attentively as we told him. It never crossed my mind that his smiling face, his cheerful demeanor, his apparent interest in our experience might have been a front, a screen behind which to hide his true disappointment that we weren’t making more of an effort to bring him into the fun”
“Auto-Drift, or A Devised Dérive and Dérive” by Matthew Lane: “Drive Now. TXT L8R. Hey, that’s clever. I must remember that, to Drive Now, and Write Later, or I guess it would be, WRT L8R.”
Photo by Grant MacDonald