Sometimes I share too much, no?
My day began at 2:15 am. Given that I had an international flight ahead of me, something I’m typically excited about, I was feeling a little down. Perhaps I was tired from lack of sleep, perhaps I wasn’t looking forward to spending the next 22 out of 36 hours on an airplane, perhaps I wasn’t looking forward to more living out of a bag, even though I’ve been doing it for 14 months now… But I know those are all manageable issues for me and they don’t keep me down for long so I knew it was something a little deeper than that. Sometimes I’m sad when I leave a place, but I’ve planned another 6 months of travel so I know I’ll be back in the States soon. I’m even comfortable with that notion although I’m sure as my travels come to an end, I’ll feel differently. But- I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Airports are probably not most peoples’ favorite places, but I’m often fairly content to spend a day traveling. I look at it as forced down time. A time where I mostly have to sit still. I watch people, I gaze at the big metal tubes on the tarmac that are capable of transporting us to entirely different places and spaces in a matter of hours, and I think about the meaning of life. Sometimes I catch up on reading, blogging, and when I’m too exhausted to think, I watch mindless TV series on Netflix. My iPad is often fully stocked with new episodes of something or other in case I don’t have wifi or there are not individual seat back screens (which I always hope for). What else is there to do?
Today I thought. Not only do I have plenty of actual in flight travel time, but I had an 8 hour layover in Toronto. Thankfully, it revived and refreshed me a bit. I was able to have lunch at Jal Gua Café, a place I’d wanted to visit for years. Emmanuel Jal was a South Sudanese child soldier, but he made it out with a crazy story that was documented in a book I read years ago, “War Child.” He’s now a well known international hip hop artist with some good songs and a passion for bettering this world we live in. He wanted to bring some of his Sudanese staples to the west and deliver them in a healthful manner and that’s what he’s done at his cafe. I had the “Miracle Salad,” a bowl of delicious, tender cooked beans and sorghum, topped with kale, tomatoes, broccoli, and a vinaigrette.
All things considered, it was nice to get out for lunch and walk around in the cool weather before I get back to the stifling humidity of South East Asia.
What’s my deal today besides the exhaustion that has already set in? For the last two months, well more actually, I’ve had plans with people I know. It’s been great catching up with friends and family. I had fun on my quick “around the world tour.” I saw people, shared stories, caught up on life and gossip with my girlfriends and I even reconnected with quite a few acquaintances I hadn’t seen in a while. It was fun and I was overwhelmed to learn of the amount of followers I have with me on my travels through Asia. People are living through me so I have to make sure I’m doing my best at this travel thing. It’s definitely positive, but what bites, one of the downsides many don’t talk about, is the accompanying loneliness that comes along with the nomadic lifestyle and once I leave Bangkok next week, it will begin again. This has definitely been a theme and I’ve blogged about it before, but the worst thing is, it won’t end when my travels end. Being in San Antonio was great, but all in all it was a stark reminder that I’ve pretty much been single since my divorce in 2014. I left my life to explore the world, I wasn’t “running” from anything, but the longer I go, the further I get, and the more I can see I would start to “run.” I will remain single because it’s nearly impossible to meet someone on such a journey. So I go, I take off, I fly, I ride… In a symbolic way, I can run away from my fears. In his book, “The Art of Travel,” Alain De Botton said “There is psychological pleasure in this takeoff, too, for the swiftness of the plane’s ascent is an exemplary symbol of transformation. The display of power can inspire us to imagine analogous, decisive shifts in our own lives, to imagine that we, too, might one day surge above much that now looms over us.” Travel transforms us, but can I shift my own thinking in certain matters? Can I surge above this specific issue that looms over me? I can only hope because otherwise life is pretty good.
For now, I’ll travel. I’ll fly, take off, and do my best to keep an open mind that one day, not only will I meet someone who makes my heart beat again, but that it will be meaningful and lasting. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the ephemeral moments and focus on the positives from those situations. The world is a big place and those metal tubes can bring us all over. Let’s see where they take me the next 6 months and let’s see if I’ll be ready to go “home” at the end of it.