“If you don’t want your life to change then why are you having a baby!?!” Chaya screamed at me in a rainy night Istanbul street three months ago.
I could not answer her, but I did write her words down in my notebook for further reference.
These “further references” were now seeping into my consciousness as I rode in the taxi from the African House Hotel to Cairo International Airport.
Next stop: Bangor, ME.
It is far too easy to change directions when you are walking down a happy Path. The road that I turned down looked rocky all the way, but I knew — I still know — that I would be a fool to not walk it out to its brick-wall end. Chaya is too good of a woman to not want to be bound to through the ironclad act of procreation. I know that this scenario could never be better.
On to new Paths — a new sort of traveling
I can not shake the fear of potentially ending up an old man haplessly wandering alone. I admit fear at the prospect of becoming Dylan sort of Lonesome Hobo.
“Without family or friends.”
Perhaps I fear my own sense of Romance?
I know that I am a man who finds fruition in walking through fear — of taking the bad road just to see where it will lead. I know that I am a man with few fears for any future, but the fear of the Lonesome Hobo is one that I cannot shake — it has always been there. Ironically, the obvious slayer of this fear — its absolute enemy — is perhaps a good woman with whom I could have a good family. It seems simple, but I have pushed away each and every person who have offered to stab this fear in the gut for me.
The largest obstacle in my road away from the “Lonesome Hobo” is the fact that I am drawn to it. My cerebral story book has always been of me, and me alone. I never made room for anyone else in my story.
“It is time to open up a new book.”
What a man really desires and what he really fears is often the same.
I equally fear not being the Lonesome Hobo.
I desired and feared both paths that laid before me — and I walked down the one that my feet lead me on without interfering with logical road signs or any maps. It is a person’s feet — and not their head — that makes their most consequential decisions.
I looked out the window of the taxi at a Cairo that was passing me by all too quickly, thinking the soggy thoughts that come easy on a traveler’s last ride of a trip.
“Cairo is always rush hour,” the taxi man broke into my sullen meditations.
He proceeded to give me a finger pointing, drive by tour of the city.
“See that, see that,” he said while pointing out the window, “that is a very bad hospital for crazy people.”
I looked out upon a fenced-in sanitarium. It had nice gardens, green lawns, and large deciduous trees.
“All taxi drivers go there,” the taxi man added as a playful, self-deprecatory jest.
Looking around at the taillight to headlight bound, honking, and exhaust spewing traffic, I believed him. But something inside me wanted to go there, too. Perhaps the taxi man will let me come and visit him when he is, inevitably, admitted.
We rode on to the airport. The friendly taxi man made friendly talk the entire way. He dropped us off at the departures terminal and did not even try to get his palms greasy in the process. His last gesture was a wave goodbye, rather than a cast for a tip.
Chaya and I put our rucksacks upon our backs for the last time of these travels. We would soon have a home: I have never had such a thing since I stepped foot off the farm in ’99.
Endings, too, are beginnings; beginnings, too, are endings.
I knew that I was ending something as I handed my printed out flight itinerary to the clean cut, white uniformed security guard at the entrance to the airport. As he scrutinized it for any sign or symbol recognizable to him, I also knew that I was beginning something as well.
“Disappointed — excited,” I later wrote down in my notebook, “beginning anything always carries a tingle of exhilaration.”
The sun must set to rise again
Journey onto the family path
Vagabond Fails to Make Money
Prenatal Care in Turkey
Journey into Fatherhood
Vagabond Engagement at Petra
Photos by Cihan Karadag
Leaving Middle East, Entering Family Life