Real life is beautiful.
Every once in awhile, it’s not what did you see today, but what did you learn today.
I sit writing in a cafe at least 4km from my hostel. I walked for four hours today in a big half circle, eventually ending up at Jerome’s Bucharest hostel. He has my sunglasses. I left them in the shower in Veliko Tarnovo… Because the last shower I had, I jumped in with them still on my head.
And now, he’s not there, and I’m sitting in a cafe down the street that oddly enough (my life is quirkier everyday) is decorated like this.
Today I left my hostel, made a left down a main road. About half an hour later, a right down another, a little while later, a left and another left. Maybe a right at some point. Wherever there were restaurants, churches, trees shading the street. I’ve gotten comfortable knowing I can walk as far in one direction or another as I want, and public transportation signs will take me home. Life lesson right there, folks.
I spent 20 minutes walking into various medical offices in a complex, internally laughing at myself, as I asked assistants at each desk if there was a scale, talk/miming “I’ve been traveling for six weeks and walking a lot.” Who would have thought it would be the dermatologist that would be able to help with that one. 57kg. Exactly what I left at, in different units. Except the leaner with kebab muscle version.
But what else did I really learn today.
I’ve been struggling with not identifying as a “backpacker,” and I don’t mean the half that is just European kids getting trashed “on holiday.”… My search for stories to send home, create from, use as inspiration is a great motivating factor for being here. But I catch myself admiring others who are traveling just to know the world for their own personal satisfaction, for no audience, for their own knowledge. I catch myself questioning if their motives for being here are more sincere.
And that’s silly, and I know it.
I spent much of today thinking about this past year, this upcoming year. 15 months ago, blonde blonde blonde, plus 30 very unhappy pounds, due to being… well, very unhappy. 12 months ago, victory belly button ring for a flatter stomach, and “Rich Mahogany 099” hair.
And it amazes me I started planning this trip last December, because so much has changed. I don’t want to be one of those “I graduated, and now I’m OLD!” and everything changed people, because that’s so grossly annoying.
There is a different mindset, however, than when this trip idea was conceived. And after a few years of struggling, I think the person writing this blog is in fact “me.” Maybe a less laundered, groomed version of me…
But I haven’t dyed my hair in over four months. That hasn’t happened since I was fifteen.
I’m fit, and, unlike a year ago, not counting calories to be there.
I’m writing, I’m laughing, and I am getting exceptionally good at Human Frogger on these European streets.
For a lot of backpackers I meet, this is their lifestyle. Save up for two years, quit the job, travel. Save up, quit, travel somewhere else. “Just don’t tie yourself down to things Iike kids or mortgages.”
And for a second, I considered it.
But that’s not the lifestyle I want, I want to have things with fingers and toes, paws and tails (that was kids and puppies, if anyone got weirded out). My desire to have an artsy little apartment rather than a house isn’t a fear of a commitment to a mortgage, but my deep, deep fear of being a horrendous housewife and the mother of whoever I date and ultimately marry hating me.
So new experiences will have to happen from a closer-to-home base, with the occasional excursion should the opportunities come, which I hope they will.
And today, I think I realized exactly where I want to be, geographically, next year. I think I’ll end up in Brooklyn. Being flat broke, but I’ll do without comfort. I really want to work in the city, and always have. Not for forever, not when I’m raising things with fingers and toes (though maybe paws and tails).
Because with recent life events, good and bad, I’ve been realizing the impact short amounts of time can have on a life – 4 seconds, 4 weeks, these 4 months.
And say within a year, I go to NYC. For hypothetical purposes, for three years.
Four years from now, I’ll the ripe old age of… 26.
Gosh, there is so much life ahead.
So much fun to be had.