The downside to traveling solo: I’m Lonely

Three days ago I left again. Like I always do. And I hate it.

I don’t know if it’s this dismal weather above my train or a rain cloud drizzling on my brain that is making me feel this way. I’ve felt sunny days through the past month of weather’s haze. But now things have changed, I’m in a hole so far down in the earth that when I look up the light above me is distant. Looking through my fingers, pinching the light, it’s no bigger than a penny. I wonder when I’ll climb out. In five days I will be in Sarajevo. Together with an old friend we’re going to devour a Bosnian thanksgiving and I’m hoping she will bring me out of this hole. As for now… I ride alone.

I’m not usually so pessimistic. I’m usually annoyingly optimistic. “Always look on the bright side of life” became my theme song in Berlin. “When life gives you grizzle, don’t grumble, give a whistle! And thistle, help things turn out for the beeeeesssst!” If I have any readers in Europe (assuming I have any readers at all), maybe you’ve seen me in my orange jacket whistling a tune in the tube or main square. A man can smile and pretend everything is hunky dory for only so long, especially when he feels alone.

Most of the time I’m not alone. I’ve been blessed with relationships that I will take home to California and Colorado with me. There are people I met who stained my memory with their sweet ways. For the first time in my life I brought a friend to the airport three days ago, it was the first time that I felt like I wasn’t the one flying away. After I waved goodbye to Maja and walked away I stopped to look back at her 100 times because I didn’t want it to be the last time I saw her. Then I left. Even though I will always remember her cutely awkward way of running to catch a tram and the way she says juice with a silent j because she’s swedish, she still left and I still had to say goodbye. Just like with all the others.

All of these goodbyes make me think of the song Beyond the Blue by Josh Garrels. “Sometimes the only way to return is to go where the winds will take you: to let go of all you can not hold on to.” Click the link and give Josh a listen. A real one. Close your eyes and hear him. “Wisdom will honor everyone who will learn to listen to love and to pray and discern and to do the right thing even when it burns and to live in the light through each treacherous turn.” <– That's my favorite part. My bro scrow Jonathon's favorite part is "I sing yellow and gold as a new day dawn like a virgin unveiled that waited so long to dance and rejoice and to sing her song and to rest in the arms of a love so strong." Beyond the Blue is one of my go to whistle tunes when I'm feeling low. I know that when I meet people like Maja I can’t hold on to them. So what else can I do but let go? Even when it leaves me feeling like someone gutted me.

So here I am alone still. Even though Beyond the Blue is on replay it’s not the echo in my head.

Now you know how I really feel. Traveling alone can be incredible but it can also be lonely. Thanks for reading my pointless post (assuming anyone did 😉 )

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3 Responses to The downside to traveling solo: I’m Lonely

  1. Erika says:

    Hi Eric! 🙂 you wrote about a song, so I reply with a song: 🙂

  2. Aunt Lisa says:

    Hello dear Eric,
    A gray sky can lead to a gray mood. I
    I know. Traveling alone can feel isolating. I know this too, altho my travel wasn’t on another continent. Please remember that you are amazing, and on a wonderful adventure that is unique to you. That’s an impressive feat, one that is shaping your future. Please take a moment to journal about the people & places you met and came to love over the last months. That’s what I do and it does help. Look through your camera lens & capture the beauty of late fall (even the crappy rain). You’ll be home soon, to lots of love & hugs. In the meantime, acknowledge that what you are doing is a huge achievement (I see the basis of the book you will write). I understand
    how you are feeling right now Please
    know this low will be short in duration and your fog will lift.

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