Hanover, PA, USA
August 17, 2007
“There is nothing more selfish than travel.”
-Andy the Hobo Traveler http://www.hobotraveler.com/
Nothing could be more true than the above statement. Hands down, it is just the way that it is. I once had this real romantic notion of finding a love and tramping around the world with her, but I think this dream has quickly faded into sad rationalism. I know that idealism frolics in dreams only, that amends must be made in life, but the Open Road and continuous love seem to be mutually exclusive. I have tried to travel with many lovers, with many friends, and it has never really worked out so well. At first I thought that this had to do personality faults- mine as well my travel companions- as well as circumstance; now, I think that there is something inherent within the process of travelling that excludes companionship. Or maybe it is just me?
Travel is to be free. To be spontaneous. To get into a process of thinking that flows freely, a way of thought that dances in rhythm with your footsteps- A way of thought that is not communicable. To have another person with you creates a need to speak and think in a way that can be communicated, that is abstract, a way that stifles the natural flow of independent thought. Which in turn spoils spontaneity, freedom, and the entire reason why I set foot out to venture from where I am. When you travel with someone you cannot just act of your own accord, you cannot just walk into a food stall and order up a big omelet and rice, sit there for an hour considering the lilies, and then fall into sleep in a nearby park; you have to ask whoever you are with if they are hungry, what they want to eat, “do you want to go to that place there?,” “What do you want to do today?” It is a way of communication that is not spontaneous, not from the heart- does not shoot from the gut at all times. I find it difficult to travel with “doing things” as my intent, which it often is when I am with others. I would much rather let things do me. To travel with others is to make travel slightly more abstract and linear.
Some years ago I met a Korean traveller in Southern China and then again in Laos who, at my questioning him if he ever travelled with a companion, said, “No, I do not travel with my friends. If I travel with my friend, then I will not have a friend anymore.” I took this to heart. The Road and continuous companionship seem to be mutually exclusive.
Mira will read this and be really upset with me. But I think that I am more honest in writing than I am in conversation. I feel too deeply, I would rather put up a callous front when I am with a person than risk feeling pain or empathy. I would rather have fun with someone than talk about feelings or emotions or any topic that has the potential of getting heavy. Mira always yells at me for not talking to her. But I don’t talk because I know that she will be upset by what I say. My thoughts consist of traversing the highest mountain ranges, sailing the farthest seas, walking through deserts. My girlfriend does not want to hear this. She just wants me to be with her and love her. I do not think that Mira is amused with my little boy adventures. She does not seem to want any part of them- she reacts against them. It is almost like she places herself on one side of a line and my travels on the other. Real travel and real love are perhaps mutually exclusive.
Or maybe I am just an incorrigible old grump? Either way I know that I am selfish.