I close my eyes and the pulsing rhythm of the music floods my senses. I’m at the back of a cab driving from our humble homely hostel to Almaty airport to catch a flight to our next destination. Windows wound down – the gritty wind of the road caresses my cheeks, the sunlit dust brushes past my face and makes it itch a little. I open my eyes. The roads are lined with bright blue flags the colour of the Kazakhstan flag – it is the day after national celebrations of the World War II victory, and the flags flap in the wind with a knowing pride. The driver nods his head to the steady beat of the local music blasting from the phone he has plugged into the car. I take a deep breath and sink my tired limbs into the tattered but soft leather backseat. I wonder what my friends, seated around me in the cab, are experiencing. Do they notice the mottled 1pm sunlight filtering through the dusty windows? Or how the wrinkles on the driver’s face weather him in the way age and harsh reality do? These thoughts flow over me, buffeting me with waves of awareness of how alive, how transient I am, moving from one changing place to the next. I’m about to travel in a plane, but I’m also travelling across planes – a different space, a different time. I float, in this moment, in this feeling, of how I have been, of what will be, of being. I close my eyes. Joyous hope fills my soul.


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