Given the state of our world currently, our mental health could be taking a toll right now, so I bring you distraction for a minute or two, reader, it’s okay.
Martha Grimes’s, “The Train Now Departing,” is a novella of a woman reveling through an existential crisis alongside a writer who writes all about his travels from coast to coast. I envied the man in this story, the way he’d stab his food with his fork while he spoke from memory of all things he’d seen, all the places he stepped in, all the food and culture he had tried.
Traveling had always been a thought just heavy enough to take space in the back of my mind while clocked in or sat during a class lecture. Without any idea on how to achieve it quicker, I continued living in a safe and comfortable bubble.
If only my younger self could see how far we’ve come.
Little did we know we would be kayaking the waters of Lake Union, staring at God in the face as it presented me the infamous still-shot of Seattle in Sleepless in Seattle. We didn’t know we would we smoking a joint with our kind Lyft driver who later on would visit me down in Sacramento, or walking the streets of Portland in the middle of a snowstorm. This year I really proved to myself of all that I can do.
I made my first actual cassette mixtape, a selection of Tame Impala and Mac DeMarco hits that make me, me. Music is my elixir of life, without it, I’m not sure how enjoyable life would be.
I’ve honed my teaching skills, teaching people of all ages how to make a knot to past participles, to how to treat people with respect and kindness. This summer was spent in the breezy campus of UCLA teaching ESL to foreign exchange students. I’m currently settled in my elementary class, teaching things such as personal space and multiplication tables. In all my travels this year, I’ve learned one important thing about the human experience. We are all looking for something, whether that be love or stability, or a drastic change that would lead to eternal happiness. Oh man.
The best part when I travel alone has got to be the freedom to do anything you want to do. You don’t have to follow an itinerary unless it’s your own, you can do anything. You can always sit on the sand of a Western or Eastern coastal beach, and just listen. Just shut up and listen to the waves or the distant chatter of the city behind you. I sat in many beaches this year from Venice to Bahamian grounds, and I can say that there is something cathartic, something much like God in the water. From drinking and listening to music with friends to sitting with my dog Pogi, mourning the loss of my first dog, Marshmallow. There’s always been a feeling of gratitude, gratitude of being.
I’m not a guru or a self-help guide, I’m just a 26-year-old, continuously fucking up, but I have given up looking. I am just walking through a park, stopping in my tracks from time to time to look at the little treasures that have come across my path. I don’t have a life plan anymore other than to just be. And to be honest, there’s this gratifying warmth when you’re sitting down and looking back at all the places you’ve been, the cute server you had a pleasant conversation with in Chicago, the Bahamian man you made out with, when you found the book you’ve been looking for at a Santa Monica record store.
It’s okay to not look a certain way or have a path lined up for others to nod accordingly in acceptance. So, with all that ramble wrapped neatly into a red bow on a present, go travel alone. Research the place you want to go, find a place to stay where there are others around. Be aware of your surroundings. Bring your music, pack accordingly, and just fucking go dude. It always goes fast.
You will be scared. A million things can happen to you just as much as a million things can happen to you in the comfort of your safe space. Whenever I’m scared shitless I remind myself that I am adventurous, I face my fears by living my best life everyday or die trying, then we ball. The best trips I’ve had were the ones where I’d be the most afraid of and then turned out to be better than perfect.
I’m always hit with, “I couldn’t do it,” “I’d be too scared to go alone,” “I don’t have money,” and they’re always right, they can’t and they won’t do it with that attitude. So just do it, be a mad man it’s fun. You are reminded that everything is ridiculous. You can start off smaller than travel and just do something out of the ordinary like make your own coffee instead, post something randomly online or try a Nigerian restaurant. Then when the people in your life ask about your day they’ll go, “Huh?”
I’m in my wanderlust era and it feels rich.
Hi, it’s been awhile since I’ve last been on here and I hope you’ve been taking care of yourself. See you!