How’s the weather today?
This is a question that I never really asked myself much – at least until I moved to New York. Given that we just went through the rainiest season on record, looking up the weather has become something of a ritual for me. Because I work from home and have plenty of free time to actually go outside, the question of ‘how’s the weather today?’ is often the first thing that I look at when I get up, and the last thing I look at before I go to bed.
It’s weird living my life at the whims of an tampered climate, knowing that it’s only going to get worse. It rained throughout May and part of June, and the last few weeks have been the hottest on record in parts of the world. It’s not exactly a good time to be a human if you’re sensitive to the weather, and unfortunately, I’m pretty sensitive to the weather.
When traveling the world, the effects of climate change were much more evident. When in the Philippines, I remember looking at landfills of consumable garbage that were higher than some of the buildings they were situated right next to. In India and Nepal, the waste often got so bad that you’d have to wade through it on the street. On the supposedly nice beaches of Bali, trash washed up on the shore and contaminated the water, except at the beaches that white people curated for themselves.
Who says that travel can’t give you meaning? Well, I did – but maybe the meaning doesn’t come from the travel itself. You can go to all these places and collect all of these countries, but these are almost irrelevant experiences you’re having in a vacuum – one in which no one in your life back home can even attempt to relate with. Your absence is more like a void in other people’s lives, and even though it may seem like more than that in yours, that’s essentially what it is – filling a void.
Now that I’ve only done one trip (aside for a family vacation) in the last six months, maybe it’s more evident that travel does matter, or at least the effects of it on you do, if not the action itself. After all, anyone can travel if they just have the free time and the disposable income, it’s not really an achievement or something to be proud of.
Except the kicker for me is that I’ve only only noticed the effects after I stopped traveling full-time. I don’t think I’d have a real sense of what I liked and disliked without having done it. I don’t think I’d be able to differentiate East Coast humidity from monsoons and humidity so egregious that the heat physically seems to rise off the street. Knowing the climate is fucked everywhere really makes you appreciate what you have weather-wise.
How’s the weather today?
Well, it sucks. But in context – it could be worse.