I have family and friends scattered all over the world and I would like to think I do pretty good job in keeping in touch with them through apps like WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype and through various social media like Instagram and Facebook. As I got older, I discovered that friendship is not about proximity nor is it based entirely on time spent together. I remember having spent a lot of time with some people only to realise, down the line, that I didn’t really care about them.
There are even people I haven’t seen or heard from in a long time that I still care about deeply and when I see them again, it’s like we were never apart.
So, I have become very, very reliant on the Internet in making sure that even though time nor distance won’t change how I feel about these special few, I will still try to keep the connection alive. Friendship must be nurtured. I’m learning to tend and grow my garden.
I’ve met quite a few lovely people in my trip to Portugal and Spain. It was immediate for me to become friends with them on Facebook and to try and get their numbers so that we can communicate via WhatsApp or Viber.
I like the idea of having friends from different parts of the world. If I manage to maintain contact with them, we could enrich both our lives by constantly sharing our different perspectives of the world and, at the same time, on my end, creating a permanent connection to the places and moments that I had on my trip that I mere picture would not be able to do.
A photo is a static thing and requires engagement only from myself. But a person grows and changes and engages back and our relationship is the same as this and it means that the memory of my trip will also grow and evolve. It wasn’t just some sight-seeing thing now — not some tourist activity where I saw some beautiful things, experienced living in a foreign space and then put it out in some essay or story or poem — but now the trip because a piece of my soul that is constantly tapping into that moment, that period of time, and it will stay with me and grow and change.
I don’t want to reduce this whole trip and turn it into just some memory. I want it to have life because when it has a life of its own — made tangible and engaging like friendships made — it will never leave me. It will not be forgotten.
And so I will do my best to keep in touch. To constantly building that bridge from across oceans and continents to Portugal and Spain. And if they happen to move to another country, the bridge will extend further. And then, inadvertently, I’m not just a person living in one place. I’m living everywhere. I’m scattered across this globe and I can only be made better by this.
Isn’t this the ideal? Isn’t this what globalisation is about? To know that we are not alone? That there is a larger world out there and that we can engage with it as it can engage with us? That’s what I want for myself.
The world is too large to live so small.