Saturday, October 16, 2010

Independently drying more goodbye tears

'You're so brave and independent. I could never do what you're doing,' a friend said to me of my travels and specifically of my solo undertaking of SE Asia. Yet when I'm an independent traveller is paradoxically when I'm the most dependent on others.

I lean on friends, family, my mother's second cousin's best friend's son and perfect strangers for rides to the airport, couches to crash on, entertainment and onward contacts and recommendations while I'm away from where I come from.

A closet introvert, I must backflip out of my comfort zone and be my most outgoing and open while away from that dynamic definition of home so I can meet other travellers. The formula scarely wavers. Within 10 minutes of 'Where are you from?' onward plans for the next half week together are made, washing powder is shared and tales from the trail and tail are gigglingly exchanged over the local brew while piecing together why the hostel has free wifi but no hot water.

This is why leaving London tomorrow for a winter in SE Asia will be difficult.

I have been staying at a Sharklab friend's flat. I have been hanging out with a friend from uni. I caught up with other friends from the Sharklab. Embedded in the intimacy of daily life - even if only for a while - with people who know me well has truly been a treat. As I have journeyed solo and been part of so many necessary-for-now, but ultimately temporary and disposable relationships I have relished these pockets of comfort, familiarity and ease with old friends.

Thank you Marc and Sam, my favourite filthy couple, for the room. Thank you Steven for popping my opera cherry. Thank you Steve for renewing my love affair with salt-water creatures. Thank you Louise for exploring York with me and later taking me home. To all of you and friends and family dotting the globe, I am most grateful for your time. The massive knot in my throat and filling-up eyes as I write this are a mere testament to how much I enjoyed our brief time together.

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