I am still adjusting to being back home. I am trying to keep myself entertained, ready to get back to work, and mentally prepared to go back to school. But for now, I have this to share:
7/27/10 7:22 PM (+1 GMT)—10:22 AM (-9 Pacific)
According to the little screen in the seat in front of me there are seven hours and four minutes until I arrive in San Francisco and the melancholy of wanderlust has already begun to settle in. There isn’t any amount of words or images that I could compile that could explicate to the fullest the adventures I have lived the last 35 days. As much as I miss my family and most importantly my daughter, I have to admit that a part of me wants to continue forward with the adventure but all good things must come to an end and this adventure is no exception.
I received a very special gift from my friend and penpal Ellenita, as I call her, to read on my train ride from Antwerp to Amsterdam. She gave me a list of her 50 favorite traveling quotes to read. As I read them I cried because I not only related to the words immensely but because I had left behind a true friend and I was not sure when I would see her again (I hate goodbyes). These quotes came at a very important time in my journey where I felt so scared and vulnerable of what the future of my trip would be like…when I was so close to regretting leaving home and thinking very strongly about coming home early. Ellenita, although only knowing me physically for only three days (but about six months through handwritten letters and art) knew exactly what to share with me. In these quotes I rediscovered all the joys of traveling and finally organized my thoughts as to why I love traveling so much, it is realizing that traveling has the ability to make us vulnerable and trusting to humanity to a degree that can only be comparable to falling in love. To me traveling has become not about what I see but the experiences I share with those I meet. Believe me, sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower alone was great but it suddenly became far more amazing when a young French man approached me and told me not only the history of the Eiffel tower but his personal heartbreak story which included this iconic tower, an affair, and ultimately to the destruction of his relationship. It is these genuine stories that make traveling so fulfilling—it is the little things that people can only share with you because they’re not paid tour guides designated to share with you a certain story but because they are real people with histories and experiences. One cannot help but conclude that in the end, humans are humans no matter where you go and that we all fundamentally feel and desire similar things. In traveling we realize the only thing that really changes are languages, cultures, and environments. These things we call borderlines are just fictional lines that categorizes us into labels that sets a group of rules on the way people see us. Amazing (verbazingwekkend).
Maybe being a lonesome traveler has made me become that bartender that listens to all the stories of clientele coming into the bar. You hear all sorts of stories from all sorts of people of all sorts of walks of life. Some people you meet along the way you know that you will keep in contact with, some you feel so insanely connected you can’t help but wonder why the universe is so cruel to keep you over 10,000 miles apart, and others, well, they are just people of the moment or enter to give you an anecdote. In any case, each experience is gratifying and has some inherent lesson. And oddly enough by being a lonesome traveler I have discovered that I am never truly alone. Loneliness is the one bond we all share.
Before I left, a fellow artist said to me that he had read a very interesting book about randomness and that life is composed of continuously random situations that are meaningless. I find this so difficult to believe because every single experience has lead me to something greater, something more grand and fascinating. And if it is all just randomness and chaos, what a beautiful randomness and chaos humans live in! Even daily and ordinary life can be extraordinary to the eyes of a stranger.
So you see, I can show you all the images I have taken, I can tell you of the places I saw and the people I met but it is just not enough. It is not enough to tell or show, it is something that can only be lived. Then again, maybe if I had the gift of writing I could share with you the details of each and every one of my experiences. And so this is the beginning of an end and I am completely transformed once again.
To the people I have met along the way, I have to thank EVERY single one of you, you have all played an important part of the story of my life. Each one has left me stories to replay in my memory. I love these memories, to contemplate them in the moments of the mundane routine.
And so since I already wrote a blog of my experience in London, the only logical conclusion is to share my experience beginning in Amsterdam on June 26 but this writing I will begin in another moment because my laptop battery life is running low and I think I want to take a nap to kill some hours to San Francisco. The plane ride home is always the hardest because there is too much time for reflection and fermenting of memory…the longing and desire to go back.
And by the way this time, I didn’t miss my flight home…just in case you were wondering.