A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

“To travel is to be a passenger whose” by Adhya Kona

To travel is to be a passenger whose


is something that follows us where our lives themselves cannot. Personhood in motion is merely moment, after moment, after all; pieces of ourselves we put together and craft a vessel out of to take us from place to place. Like the mythic Ark, the stories that preserve us were built to land, somewhere; but once they do, those aboard have to use the wood, the past lives from which they built their boat to build a home. They keep, carry, lower, anchor, raise, relearn, release those things


is how we must nurture ourselves when on a journey. It is okay, if your sails feel the urge to retreat when faced with wind and bigger waters; if they bend back toward the places that are already known to them. All of us respond differently when faced with the journey between our own body, and the unknown. A new place is a story you’ve never read before that has been brought to life, all around you; a story that, like us, was


histories inch forward to greet you new travellers when you land. How will you document them? With care, with hesitation, with longing? Travel invokes the duality of witness, and participant. Between the coming and going is the being; that time when you must be vulnerable in your plans, openhanded in your smile, and surrender yourself to the human experience. But your destination stretches beyond your journey. A new land has more to it than


body is uniquely equipped to cherish all the ways that the Earth can be not just breathtaking, but breath, giving, life-generous. Once you land, do your lungs whisper in, and out, in awe, embrace the air in a different rhythm? Often when you embark, you expect less than nothing, but you want the whole world and more. The thing is, in order to have it, you have to be willing to see past yourself, future, yourself, as you explore it. There is always a


waits to be unearthed. For every world explored, there is one survived. Destinations, too, have travelled to meet you, to exchange with you your welcome. Revere this, that every color can have a new origin story, that every meal can have a new reason to be served, that every corner can have a new way to turn ahead of you. Navigation is a character that always asks for reintroduction, every voyage you could possibly chart offering up novel flavors of home


journey, is often also to search, and to leave behind— temporarily, or otherwise. What you see holds hands with what you look for, rests at the feet of where you came from. And yet, for all the distance you have crossed, you have arrived. In a land of lands, of stories like ours, even a creature like you can move. Linger. Revel. As you travel, remember— floods only strengthen the sails of the things that reach the


To travel is to be a passenger whose
memory faithfully carried your legacy to shore.


Adhya Kona is a Youth Poet Laureate Cohort Member and a senior at Tesla STEM High School. Adhya read this poem at our Encore Series event with Pico Iyer on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, at Town Hall Seattle. 

Posted in Student WritingYouth Poet Laureate2022/23 SeasonEncore Series