It seemed to me that just about everyone came with baggage that was unaccounted for, probably because if any airline found out what we were really bringing with us, we wouldn’t be allowed on board. With our lips sealed and our heads held high, we approached the check-in counters with the understanding that for some of us, packing up our lives meant that there was some heavy and dangerously reactive shit coming along for the ride. It also meant that no matter how hard we tried, the zippers would not close and no amount of compartments could sort out the unorganized chaos. Praying our eyes wouldn’t give it away, we assured the attendants that we complied with the guidelines, placed our decoy of a suitcase on the conveyor belt, and held our breath during security checks in the hopes that no one would see right through us.
Our boarding cards indicated a destination but somehow we still ended up lost in transit. At some point we realized that a name and place of birth was an inadequate form of identification, so we ditched the labels and found solace among others who were also nameless, nationless, or claimless. No one was coming for us, not on a small island in the Indian Ocean anyway. It didn’t matter that we were in an unfamiliar territory with unfamiliar faces, for there’s a special type of magic that occurs when you’re among people who know nothing about you. Somehow you end up feeling comfortable to reveal everything about you — or at least more than what most people back home would know. This dorm room… this hostel… this island… they all became one of the few places on this earth where the coast was clear for us to unwind, unpack, and wear our hearts on our sleeves.
–Inspired by Anna Banana and dedicated to my Gili T. family.