Got to Lima two days ago. Wrote on the rooftop of my hostel for a bit. Alone. Peaceful. I’ve been feeling quite lonely these past few days. From Cusco to Lima it’s been so grey, the dullness of the sky seems to weigh on my spirit.
Strange to believe tonight I will be on a plane back to the states. It’s really been 2.5 months. Costa Rica (the beginning of my trip) feels so long ago. And Nicaragua…I had all these fears of seeing someone I’m sort of in love with (there is no label but I fondly describe him as my ‘seasonal partner’), and it ended up being a beautiful time in my life. Although peppered with some strange aquaitances, I learned how to own my confidence with grace. When grace failed me, I learned to laugh. And when my laughter faltered, I learned to let things go.
Anicca, the Buddhist term for impermanence. My friend, Uri from Isreal taught me that word. It was the first night I’d be thrown into the arms of Mother Ayahuasca. Just me and Uri in the jungles of Perú. I noticed it tattooed on his forearm and asked him of its meaning. I couldn’t help but chuckle and reply, “Ironic.”
He joined in with me and said it hadn’t occurred to him until afterwards. He gets that response all the time. But really, why bother getting attached to anything? In the end it doesn’t matter, we all die. Nothing is permanent.
I nodded in understanding, but really the thought of this made me feel empty, almost pointless. I think I’d rather get attached and suffer. Maybe that’s why I write. Suffering is so crucial to writing. The next morning, after Ayahuasca and much weeping, Uri, who was Buddha beside me all night, commented he wanted to suffer as I had that night.
The other day, I messaged a friend I made in Portland while living there last year. So simply she asked, “Are you happy?”
Wow. So powerful. A ‘How are you,’ is such a robotic nicety these days, it doesn’t really mean anything. I took a moment to respond.
“Grateful is a better adjective.”
I’m seeing the world like I always said I would, and I’m proud of myself for that. But some days, I really feel the challenges of my solo quests. Because of this, I always remind myself how good it feels to be in a loved ones company, to hold hands, to connect with a stranger, even for a day; they stay that much sweeter in my memory.
I sit here alone, writing on a couch in a long hall of a big, Victorian hostel. Everything is white. I wonder how many people before me have sat down with their thoughts, much like mine. What were they searching for? What were they remembering?
I just met a man named Falk from Germany. He’s been riding his bicycle around South America for 6 months and has another year or so to go. He must be in his 40’s. I wonder if he’s happy. I wonder if he is like Uri and lives in a state of Anicca. I wonder if he is like me.
I met a girl in Tarapoto. Her name escapes me but she is from Switzerland. We talked about how we liked to travel. By how, I mean she didn’t bother doing anything touristy. Only walking around, looking, observing, even cafés were in a sense for tourists, but sometimes she was thirsty.
She told me she enjoyed doing nothing. Her friend had told her she was the only person she knew that actually meant it when she said she wasn’t doing anything. Only sitting and thinking. I found her quite lonely, but rather I think she valued her loneness more so. Something I could relate to.
Soon I’ll be in familiar surroundings again. Back with friends. Back to the mountains. Cali sunshine. I’m sure some things will have changed, if ever so slightly.
I’m thinking of what these 2.5 months have been to me. A step closer to something else. Most people travel to get away, but I think I travel to get closer. Picking up pieces of myself along the way. Each new place allows me to learn something new about myself. I’m grateful for this- to discover, revealing the truth, even if it is my own. Yes, there is more work to be done. One more step, and another…