Wednesday, January 18, 2012

notes from Africa

It is a very early morning here at my hostel in Marrakech. Either 530 or 630 am- I haven’t bothered to check the accuracy of my updated mp3 player’s clock, seeing as time is completely irrelevant while on the road. I have woken up after a blissfully long sleep, passing out early last evening after a particulary large plate of coucous au poulet (and several bueno bars for dessert, of course). It seemed logical now to stay huddled under my heavy wool blankets here on my concrete slab of a bed, and write, seeing as how I am awake anyways and it is still dark outside and Luke, the charismatic hostel owner, would surely kill me if I got up this early asking for a cup of tea. Alone in my little room (the 2 aussies having left yesterday to head to London en route to Laos) headphones on, laying in bed, the birds above the Riad still silent in those special pre-dawn hours…just me, my fingers and these words spilling out.
I awoke in a slight haze, brain whirring with thoughts of of solitude and silence, after having strange dreams of finding full shopping bags on the sidewalks of Canada, in the blazing summer heat. How strange. In my dream I stole one of these paper bags, and inside was an expensive pink polka dot sweater. There was no one around to see me, so I took it quickly, and walked away feeling rather guilty of my theft.
I often find myself thinking about WHY exactly I travel so much, especially upon first meeting other backpackers and they inevitably ask what I “do” and whether im a student etc etc and I basically have to confess that traveling has sort of become my life, and im just a wanderer –writer-gypsy with no real plan. Despite what all this might appear to others, mere tourism, or escapism, it is something much more personal and deeper to me, regardless of what anyone thinks. Certainly, I AM a tourist, I walk the souks and haggle with shopkeepers for cheaper sandals, we laugh and they ask “where are you from?”, and to them, I am no different than anyone else, here for a few days to buy pretty things and take endless photos before going back home to my job, house and tagine-less lifestyle –(all of which are inaccurate mind you, being that I make a mean tagine in the homes of others while I am unemployed). And certainly, my initial impulse to make vagabonding my mode of existence WAS just an escape from the bones of a particularly tumultuous relationship’s dissolution, last spring. Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose, after all, and desperation can lead to the most amazing things, that much I have learned. I am so grateful to every card i've ever been dealt, So goddamn grateful that everything in my life has lead up to this point, that I have ended up here in this hostel, in Marrakesh, on this early January morning. 

I meet so many different types of people while on the road and I know that I am no better or worse than anyone else, and certainly don't ever want to come across like i've figured it all out.. But I am happy to be me, alone, and to not have a crutch or shoulder to carry me around. I love traveling alone, and finding what I seek mirrored back to me in the funniest ways. It's such a glorious experience I wish I could convince EVERY person to do it. Quit your job! Sell the house! be a vagabond!

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