Waxing on about the departure of a friend of the way.
PRAGUE, Czech Republic- Andy departed from Prague this morning and I should be following suit tomorrow. I’m going to miss that guy. Meeting other travelers like him remind me of the old poems by Li Bai and Du Fu, who waxed on dramatically about the departing of “friends of the way.”
“I like talking to you. I can really talk about things,” Andy said at one point.
It’s kind of tough when you travel for so long that you leave your tribe behind. You can talk to people all day but at root it can be kind of a lonely life. Meeting friends of the way that you can really talk to is rare.
I was fortunate in Prague to have had two such meetings.
Saturday morning breakfast with Andy in our apartment.
What’s interesting is that when Andy first began traveling when he was roughly the age that I am now, which offers me a little perspective for when I’m feeling as if I’m running out of time to accomplish certain goals. Andy had one life, stopped it, and then established another. It’s not too late to start making documentaries … I just need to get these two books out of the way first.
In the end, I can’t write most of what Andy and I talked about. There is another side to travel that is unpublishable — Theroux didn’t write the most interesting tales of The Great Railway Bazaar. You just can’t do it if you want to remain part of any society, have friends, or stay married. I would like to say that the traveler always lives a secret life, but I’ve been lead to believe that this distinction goes for just about anyone.
“I can never write the best stories,” Andy said with a laugh. “My mom reads this.”
Andy gave me a big hug me as we said goodbye. We talked of meeting up in Kazakhstan but both of us knew that each time you bid farewell to a traveler it could be for the last time.