Nothing says “I’m trying,” quite like this

My sister told me that Manix told her that Melay told him that Hemingway said something to the extent that “You should never travel with someone whom you do not love.” And the number of degrees that statement went through just to reach my ears forces one to question its reliability, but I can stand behind the shred of truth it contains. While “You should never travel with someone you do not love,” sounds like a fair enough disclaimer, taking the risk will at the very least provide for some fairly interesting experiences. And no, “fairly interesting” is not necessarily a euphemism for weird. If anything, my visit to Hong Kong this time around could have been weirder, could have contained less vapid anecdotes about getting lost and clinging to every penny, but there’s not much you can do about what already took place (or didn’t take place. For shame).

I look at the short time I’ve been alive–actually been alive, like made my own choices and all that shit that comes with it–and traveling alone has always provided the best stories and lessons about my valiant efforts to act like an adult. And out of the events that transpired last week, nothing quite captures that experience of fumbling into adulthood like arguing in public, or having to keep a straight face despite being hopelessly lost (in a city, in a sentence, in a fancy restaurant where none of the words on the menu sound [or look] even remotely familiar). Try doing this with someone who broke your heart several months before the trip, and you’ll know what “alone” really feels like.

I read this poem (Edward Hirsch? A.R. Ammons? I’ll check when I get home, I promise) with the line “Plural is everything that multiplying greatens,” and I thought of that trip. Or rather I went on that trip and thought of that line. And then I went home for what now feels like a ritual weeding out of things-I-don’t-need, and this whole thing went with it. No compulsion to tuck souvenirs into the little pockets of space left on the nightstand or into the mirror on my dresser or anywhere, save for this blog. No ticket stubs saved or inside jokes that can dignify the mundane reality that we were alone together and the only thing worth salvaging was the truth that he really wasn’t worth the trip, because he didn’t think I was worth the trip either.

No regrets here, really.

One thought on “Nothing says “I’m trying,” quite like this

  1. I sort of know how aloneness in a foreign land feels. Two years ago I went to San Francisco to visit a pseudo-boyfriend who seemed more interested in his studies than spending time with me. He didn’t even want to have sex! I spent my first week there crying my eyes out then the next two weeks shacking up with a guy I met at a hostel.

    A year after, I went to New York by myself and got into all sorts of strange adventures. Needless to say, I never traveled alone after that. Even when I’m with new friends, it gets lonely, and it’s easy to do stupid things when you’re lonely.

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