I remember staring longingly at the departures screen at Haneda Airport in Tokyo a couple of weeks ago. Destinations familiar and unknown filled me with a wistfulness that was at once, familiar and unknown.
I wanted as much to stay longer in Japan as to hop on a flight to South Korea, Cairo or Scandinavia. I wanted as much to walk the chaotic streets of Bangkok as to inhale deeply the scent of the pine trees in the Himalayas. And yet, I could only choose to board one flight, to land only in one place…
There’s a Danish word for it: Onism – the quiet frustration of being stuck in one body, that can only inhabit one place at a time; the realisation that one’s lifetime is too short to experience everything in the world.
It is the embodiment of questions that never stop plaguing some of us:
“All the billions of doors you had to close in order to take a single step forward. All the things you haven’t done and may never get around to doing; all the risks that may or may not have been real; all the destinations you didn’t buy a ticket to; all the lights you see in the distance that you can only wonder about; all the alternate histories you narrowly avoided; all the fantasies that stay dormant inside your head; everything you’re giving up, to be where you are right now…”
~ Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
So although I love the longing for faraway places, I am slowly accepting that no matter how much I travel, there will always be blank spaces on my map. The only way I can stop them from plaguing me is to be where I am with all my heart.
One such longing, and one such blank space is Scandinavia. So when Copenhagen Tourism reached out to me, I knew I had to take myself there with all my heart.
This week, I will surrender to the unknown rush of a new destination – Copenhagen, perhaps the coolest capital city in Europe! I hope to experience the unique design and architecture of the city, learn from its commitment to urban sustainability, and if I’m lucky, feel hygge, ordinary moments that feel inexplicably cosy and special. Never having travelled to Denmark or Scandinavia before, I can’t wait to try vegan Nordic food and cycling-friendly highways!
I’ll spend another few days in the region (not sure where yet; any ideas?), before boarding a long flight to a place so familiar, it almost feels like I’m going home… Guatemala! Colombia, Peru and California are potentially on the cards too, but I’m in no rush to fill the blank spaces on my map.
How do you feel about onism and the blank spaces on your map?
And do you have any recommendations for cool, lesser-known things to do in Copenhagen, and vegan-friendly places I shouldn’t miss?
*Note: I wrote this post in collaboration with Wonderful Copenhagen. Opinions on this blog are always my own.