And so I move on again. It’s getting harder and harder this leaving behind. This time there is Ugo, a true kindred spirit, a courageous searching soul who’s levelled chestnut eyes do not veer from the truth. He looks into you in a way that invites you to know him, no frills, no fuss, no image, just resting in an awareness of each other and of a shared life. A real partner on the road. And then of course there’s Lea. Who answered so briefly that yearning which lingers in us all, that makes the solo sleeper hug a pillow to their chest at night.
These are people I want to know forever, to tuck away into the backpack of my life after only a few days. It seems a paradox on the road that the connections are so amplified by an intensity of time spent together and an openness of heart, whilst at the same time by their very nature they are so transitory. We are mostly left with a small piece of someone we can hold close to us in our mind’s eye; a memory reserved for the rocking chair years guaranteed to raise a smile. And maybe it is better thus. An exercise in non-attachment perhaps?
But alone again I find myself tiring of the goodbyes, and conversely a small part of me is shrinking away from the new connections. I’ve begun watching people pass by more, happy to remain in my solo orbit and preserve my energies. A kind of more guarded solitude is emerging, and perhaps that is good, perhaps we need to reserve the true currency of our hearts a little. The transitory nature of travelling is showing me something about the importance of relationships and community. Laos is the most communal and happiest country I have ever seen, and yet paradoxically a solo traveller is perhaps the least communal you can be. And this contrast is teaching me the worth of roots, of settling and growing and watching things blossom for a time. Bit by bit I sense the wanderlust in me may give way to that greater goal. The goal of belonging. But belonging by choice which is so very different from being stuck.