I felt kinda bad when we arrived at the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur.
I had an inkling it would be that way and although the outcropping of limestone cliffs that appeared as we drove up the highway was captivating, I knew it wouldn’t be enough.
The golden Hindu god, one of the most sacred and biggest shrines out side of India was impressive, as was the never ending staircase shrouded by thick greenery leading up to enlightenment.
But once my head peaked over the top and I walked into the cool cave, my shoulders sunk a little.
“Oh is that it?”
Some of our group were moved and I kept silent so as to not dampen their excitement or to take away the experience for them.
I also didn’t want to sound like a travel snob.
Unfortunately at times it can’t be avoided. It’s not that you want to sound like you are better than the experience in front of you, or those who are really gaining something from it, it’s just because you’ve had the experience before, sometimes many times, and often at places that impacted you more.
The Batu caves didn’t compare to other places I’d been. I feel sucky even writing it.
I was trapped in the travel blasé moment.
You know like after you get by the third month of your European trip.
You could be standing in front of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, but if it is your third month in, you kind of shrug your shoulders and snort a little before turning away. (sometimes whispering Just Another Effing Church – you know the AFC)
It’s a terrible affliction and one that I was keenly aware of while wandering around the holy grounds of the Batu caves.
“Focus on right now Caroline. Focus on what is good about here, not on where you have been before. Forget the comparison.”
If you compare, you take away what is precious about the experience in front of you.
So I dug a little deeper and found little things to delight over.
The joy that some of my travelling buddies were feeling at being there. There was no way I wanted to let my snobbish, jaded self destroy that experience for them.
The Hindu statues on the roof of the shrine and the impromptu blessing that was happening underneath it.
The Hindu deities aglow and tucked away in the corner beneath the stalactites.
The birds swooping overhead moving from one stalagmite perch to another and artfully eluding my camera lens.
And the monkeys waiting to steal our food and glasses on the staircase to eternity. I delighted in watching the long-tailed macaque’s antics and seeing their babies clutched to their Mommas, wishing mine were with me to do the same.
It is easy to overcome the travel blasé when you arrive at just another…
Take the time to savour the moment that exists in front of you.