Living in between houses and homes, and navigating through my third travel term in the last year and half, the theme of place and displacement have come up in my thoughts quite a bit. One item of many that’s arisen in surviving the dozen countries I’ve been to is my need for liminal space.
We’ve spoken about it in terms of the metaphorical space one occupies in transition between phases of life, or worldviews. For me, though, the most important liminal spaces are the physical liminal spaces I have occupied: planes, trains, buses, vans, cars, and the like.
Place is beautiful, it contains the relationships and stories that form the fabric of culture, the reservoirs of everyday thought, and the foundations history was built upon. Place is also exhausting.
Every time I enter into a liminal space, I find it not only an opportunity to rest my body, but it also gives me a break from being anywhere. I, for a moment, can live without having to connect to any particular thing in my surroundings. I’m no longer in Cuba, Thailand, or Austria; those spaces merely exist outside of my window. There is merely time, and the passing of places I’ll never know.
I think it is perhaps necessary for us to feel like we don’t exist anywhere in particular for times in our lives. It is not only important because these spaces give us opportunity to reflect on where we were and in what direction we are going, but it also forces us not to be dependent on being anywhere at all, really.