Ramblings of loneliness

Sunday, May 4, 2017
Bucharest, Romania

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”— Confucius

Every master was once a disaster.” — David T.S. Wolf

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. – John Wooden

Don’t overthink yourself out of something good! – Akosua Dardaine Edwards

Don’t overthink things. Sometimes you can convince your head not to listen to your heart. Those are the decisions you regret for the rest of your life. –Leah Braemel

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.— J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

 

I’m in a bit of a funk lately.
Too many things are going on and it is a little overwhelming and hard to keep my head up.
I have been in Romania quite awhile off and on.
I still do not have a grasp on the language
People keep telling me that they know of others who learned it in one month.
That just makes me feel worse
Unable
Stupid
And we go to meet people
And they are courteous
polite
“Hello! Buna! How are you?”
And that is about the extend of the conversation most of the time
I say I can understand some of it.
I say I am trying to learn.
I say “No problem, go ahead and talk in Romanian, I can kinda follow along”
But I can’t
I do for awhile
I get the gist of the conversation
But then my mind focuses on one word or phrase
forgetting what it is
and my mind searches for what it means
and I lose track of the conversation
And I stare at the sky.
at the people walking by
Trying to not look bored
Trying not to look as alone as I feel
Left out
Isolated
I don’t want them to speak entirely in English
That would be an inconvenience for them
I am in their home country
They are speaking their mother tongue
I take lessons
I do the apps
Answer the questions right
And then when it comes to conversation in real life
My mind blanks.
What did they just say?
What am I supposed to say back?
And the visa
I finally turned in the visa this past week
And now I wait one month to see if they accept or reject it
If I have to leave or if I get to stay
If I get rejected should I to hire a lawyer and fight to stay?
After waiting in the lines for hours
With impatient, rude people
standing
forever
talking to the people behind the desk 9 times
My translator talked to the officer for what seemed like an eternity
And when we left the counter
I got a one sentence summary of the 20 minute conversation.
i need another document
another document
each time
waiting in traffic
stressing out my boss
Creating tension at work
i am scared I am too much work
Wishing she never hired me
due to all the headaches of this visa
leaving my classroom and coming back mentally vapid
not able to concentrate on what was going on
going home to cry
And am so exhausted I nearly pass out at 9
because I messed up
I didn’t know the new rules
Count backwards 180 days.
it doesn’t start over.
It was my fault
I could feel the heaviness
Disappointment from others
And I revert back to the days of pasT
When I was truly believed I was a burden
Unwanted, but invited out of obligation
It is my fault I am slow at learning
that’s just how I am
All the people I meet here
Must think I am so boring
i hope they don’t think I’m a bitch
Or stuck up
because I barely talk
I have so much I want to say.
I want to show them me
but they just turn to other friends and share stories
and laugh
in Romaninan
And I am left
Alone
Though sometimes they remember I am there
and translate a story
or respond in English to what someone asked in Romanian
and I jolt back to reality
they are talking to me
my heart soars with happy
I feel like I am pulling away
Regressing
Not putting as much effort as I should at work
the gym seems overwhelming
getting out of bed to go to meet people is difficult
No amount of sleep could cure the tiredness I feel
I love people
I hate inconveniencing people
I hate being a burden
And I noticed that I have been backsliding
Focusing on the negatives when I look in the mirror
As they talk and talk
I notice more and more wrong with me
My white thighs glowing in the sun
flattened out and huge as I sit in the chair
The scars on my arms from days long ago
The bags under my eyes that won’t go away
My hair, frizzy beyond belief
My silhouette makes me cringe
My stomach.
The liver transplant scar
a big indent in my belly
creating a soft roundness above and below
fat
no bikinis for me
I tried
I got down to 86 pounds long ago
I still had a soft round belly
I get more and more disgusted every time I look in the mirror
why did I decide to wear this tonight?
no wonder people don’t want to talk to me
I feel boring
all that time of listening to them talk
and sitting there
feeling awkward
not sure if I should intervene,
“Ce faci!”
“Nu înțeleg”
But I don’t
I don’t want to be a bother
I try to follow
then space out
lost in my head
all the thoughts
monsters don’t live under the bed
They scream inside your head
but not all the time
don’t worry too much
things still make me happy
the soft rain before the downpour
as it gently lands on my skin
a slight tickle from mother earth
laying in the grass with the sun shining on me
warming my body
Bubbles
and many other things
it is easy to spiral and forget
but there are many things that keep me here
But I have been longing more and more for going back
To Portland
To Santa Cruz
where I can understand people
Where I don’t feel detached
But would that be giving up?
Running away?
Should I power through and take 2 lessons a week?
Could I fit in here?
Your vibe attracts your tribe.
I feel part of a tribe sometimes
but then they slowly revert back to Romanian
laughing
talking
reminiscing
and I have no idea what they are talking anymore
because at one point I space out
too much in my own head
I need more things here
I need to change
I need motivation
But do I belong here?
Is this the life I want?
Do I want to go back to what’s comfortable?
Or do I want to step out of my comfort zone and zoom forth
I have always felt a little ostracized
all my life
On the fringes of groups
Along for the ride
A little odd
I’m used to being the me that they know
silly, bright and sunshiny
but I also come off as flighty
as dumb
and I am not
not many people know the real me
all the things I went through
The people I lost
the people that hurt me
the people I hurt
My stories that made me who I am
the good and the bad
No one asks anymore
and then there are some people I connect with on another level
and I adore them
and I feel wanted when I am with them
and I laugh
and feel warm inside
happy
But I can’t remember the last time I laughed
genuine laughter
where your eyes well up with happiness and silliness
I miss that
I need nature
I need a friend
I need the beach
I need to stop thinking that everyone is thinking negatively of me
I hate it
because that’s what teenagers do
I’m 31
I should be over that by now
Strong
Independant
Etc
But no
Because right now I feel deflated
discouraged
empty
lost
alone
But i still have the flame of hope
Deep inside
still burning
waiting for more fuel
for me to believe wholly
that I can do this
that things will get better
I just need to get out of my head
because life is beautiful
I’m living in Romania.
I am in charge of 17 of the most beautiful, sweet little 2-3 year olds
I have a good job that pays quite well
Someone who believes in me
and keeps me going
i have plans to travel in the summer
music festivals
summer is coming
i need to get back to that me
that me that said “yes” to everything
That had no problem talking to strangers
I have people that say I am beautiful
And check up on me
I’ve been here before
i know my mind is just messing with me
i’ve been here before
i can get out
get out of my head
and into my heart
And in these next week Is will start the process
of becoming a butterfly
starting by smiling from my heart
because I am strong
and I am worth it
I just need to work on believing it
mantras on the mirror
mantras by the bedside
little reminder that life is beautiful
of who I am
I will find my way

The key to happiness is letting each situation be what it is instead of what you think it should be.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” – Unknown

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be. ― Abraham Lincoln

True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

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I came here to escape

Back when I was 23 during spring break of my last year at University, shortly after my older brother died, my mind was a mess.
I had had an eating disorder for the past 7 years. I flip flopped between trying to interact with people and hiding in my bedroom doing as many sit ups as I could and running in place.
When my brother died, it shocked me to the core, Granted, he was never that nice to me, in fact he was downright horrible most of the time. I was terrified of him. And when he was going through the motions of cancer, he started trying to make up for those years of torture. He died before I could say I love you.
But shortly after he died, I started living. I finally allowed myself to start drinking… I had my first boyfriend.. went to concerts.. etc.
Spring break was coming up. I knew I needed to do something spectacular.
I booked a trip to Ecuador. I paid money to volunteer at an animal refuge center in Ecuador right in the Amazon jungle.
I knew very little Spanish.. I had never left the country before (except when I lived in Canada).. I wasn’t too experienced in partying or making friends due to the ED.
But I went.. I had many struggles but also had the time of my life.. I got to feed a beautiful big-eyed Margay a chicken… I got to have monkeys play in my hair… I got to walk in the Peccary enclosure with mud up to my knees (GLORIOUS!!).. I hung out in hammocks with Australians and British and Spanish and Ecuadorian.. I nearly slept with a Hobbit-like British boy in the jungle as he took me to see the nocturnal Kinkajous-except everyone back at the camp sent out a search party for me… I helped to hike a tortoise out into the middle of the Amazon jungle for 3 nights to let him loose… My smiles were genuine.. My laugh was pure.. I was realizing what happy was
But
I happened upon this poem I wrote alone in my hammock under the Amazonian stars the night before I left the camp after a week and a half of learning to live and feel again..

I came here to escape
To leave my life behind
But now that I am here
I am beginning to find
You cannot fun from
What you wanted to
Those thoughts inside of you
No matter where you go
Where you sleep at night
The downward spiraling
thoughts-those you cannot fight
I thought I was so sad at home
Now its frustrating to see 
Escaping from the life I know
Cannot set me free
Now its time to head on home
To the place I left behind
Bring with me the tales of adventure 
That flow on through my mind
No matter where you go
Nor how hard you try 
There are that follow
That won’t pass you by
Your mind, your thoughts, 
Your body, your soul
I found out what it was 
I came here for
I tried to run away
To escape
Away from my cares
Away from these thoughts 
Away from my mind
Run far away from here
Leave it all behind
I learned the hard way
You cannot run
from all that you are

Hearts are wild creatures


“Why do you look so sad? Because you speak to me in words and I look at you with feelings.” ~Pierrot la fou

Tuesday August 16, 2016
Day 89
Laufen, Switzerland

What a roller coaster of a couple days…
Hearts are wild creatures, thats why our ribs are cages.
I am having difficulty finding places to stay.. it seems the well has dried up.. Of all those couchsurfing requests I sent out, only a handful of them replied and only to decline, saying they were busy or out of town or already hosting..
So I shot up north to visit some old friends from the hostel… I was hesitant.. too many feelings would be involved.. and I was already anxious and sad that no one was responding to my couchsurfing…
As I said, constantly torn between “if its meant to be, it’ll be” and “if you want it, go and get it”
I just feel deflated.
I got to Laufen. My friend, Felix, who I knew from my hostel days in San Diego picked me up, and we caught up quickly on all the things that happened since.. I had spent 2 months with him and three months with his best friend, Max, when they came down to San Diego. I had been toying with the idea of seeing his best friend… I knew it wouldn’t be the same.. he had a gf..we barely exchanged but a few brief (on his side) texts since he left.. but his friend was keen on me coming down and I was keen on seeing the little place that they lived that I had heard so much about.
His apartment was beautiful, modern, super clean, chic, white, simple, elegant, spacious… very European.. no clutter.. fancy things..
His roommates were very nice.. very sweet..
Felix decided to take me to the river.
Perfect.
I recalled them telling me stories of their lazy summers jumping in the river..
We pulled up at a house.. I was suddenly aware of my heartbeat.. thumbing a little too loud inside my chest…
I remembered this house..  had showed me this on Google images one night back in San Diego when we were laying around, fighting sleep, passing time telling each other stories… I asked him to show me his world.. and he wove beautiful stories of times in this house.. the surrounding area.. the place where they practiced their band.. their school.. everything.. I knew it all already..
I asked him what we were doing, and Felix hopped out of the car, saying we were going to get Max and bring him to the lake.
Shit. Ok.
I wasn’t prepared. I looked like shit. My heart wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. I sent a silent prayer to whoever and anyone that maybe he wasn’t home.
We walked up the steps to the big house he showed me that day long ago…  they looked the same as the pictures.. some being taken over by the grass surrounding… and the garden.. the terrace where he said they would jam on summer evenings..
I was getting nervous. Anxious. Scared. How was I supposed to feel? I have no idea. We had shared so much and got so close and then nothing.He left. Barely heard from him again. And here I was, ascending the curved staircase he had talked about so much when he dreamed out loud of going home… I knew that to the right was their smoking room.. to the left was his room..
“Come on Penny! I hear his voice!” I heard Felix impatiently called to me from the top of the stairs… I realized I was taking these steps extremely slow..
As I finally reached the top of the stairs, I saw him, the world around me disappeared. The floor below me rushed away. My heart dropped. The air in my lungs dissapeared. All the feelings… the times we shared.. the nights.. the days.. the laughter.. the tears.. the swims int the ocean.. the car rides.. Our trip to Joshua tree.. Sunsets at sunset cliffs… The pizza place they loved so much in San Diego.. Our trip to Grand Canyon when it snowed… Burger land.. Halloween…how he taught me guitar.. taught me to skateboard.. taught me many things that cannot be fathomed into words.. our whole 3.5 months of slowly getting closer and then suddenly its like we fell off a beautiful cliff into a deep, pure connection.. hit me like a ton of bricks. His smile was the same. His hair flopped around the same way. Tall and strong as ever.
I hugged him and quickly pulled away.
My heart was bursting with happy and confusion and devastation.
His voice. His laugh. Everything. Perfect.
So we picked up Max and his roomate and continued on. 
I remember many, many days traveling with them in California. Felix driving my car, because I hate driving. Max and I curled up in the backseat.. him playing with my hair while I rested my head on his lap.. he was a good cuddler.. he liked to be touched.. I needed that.. The one time I was in front was when me, Felix, Max, Aubrey and I went to Joshua tree at the end of their first 2 weeks in California, both of us sneaking glances at each other in the overhead mirror between the front seats. By the time we were driving home. I was in the backseat with him and pretty much never left. 
This time, Felix was driving but I was sitting passenger and Max and his friend were in back. I was glad Max was right behind me. It caused an explosion in my heart when I saw him.
We got to the spot, walked out and through all the bushes.. I, as usual, got distracted by the spider webs and the blackberries and the stinging nettle and the different spots on the river that looked absolutely stunning..
We found a rope swing. We drank some beers. Felix and I played in the water, Max and his friend stayed on the riverbank.
We barely exchanged a few words. I wanted to say so much. I could put nothing into a comprehensible sentence. It hurt to look at him.
I felt like a blender had gone off in my heart and soul.
We went for Ice cream after at Felix’s girlfriends workplace. It was delicious. Some of the most delicious ice cream I had ever tasted. I relished every bite.
The three boys began talking in Swiss German.
I have become used to this in my travels, being the only one that doesn’t speak another language. Its difficult not to feel left out or rejected after awhile.
Before too long, I could see them look at me off and on in their conversations. The tone was tense. Max was shaking his head no.
Shit.
I pushed away the remains of my ice cream. Suddenly it tasted rotten.
I knew Felix had band practice that night and I was 100% sure he was asking if he could pass me on to Max while he was gone. And of course, Max said no.
It has been a trend these days.
I found it difficult. All these rejections on couchsurfing. Plans to go this way and that falling through. I thought I had it covered. I sent out about 30 different messages to all areas of Europe.. This lost feeling was a familiar, though upsetting one. The feeling of being unwanted. Literally, unwanted.
I was breaking. I excused myself from the table to go to the restroom to collect myself and give myself a pep talk of sorts.
I returned, Max gave me one of his perfect smiles. I could manage a half smile before I had to turn away.
We dropped him off. My heart sunk even further when he mentioned quite clearly, “My girl is coming over to lay with me”
I had gone numb by this time.. I simply smiled and gave him a quick hug and hopped back in the car..
Felix dropped me off at his place and although my mind and heart were far away for the most part, his roommate did an excellent job of keeping me distracted and served me some delicious drinks and showed me some Swiss German music… He was absolutely the sweetest thing and just what I needed right then.
Felix and his gf came and joined us in our drinking and laughing. They were perfect to me. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
The next day, Felix and his gf and I met with another friend and we floated down the river.. It was like a lazy river at the water parks but in real life! Floating down with just an inflatable, waterroof bag and the charming city on either side..
And then the gypsy camp where we had a much needed beer and I got to explore the intricacies of the street art and random structures and intriguing art.
Then Felix had another band practice. This band was with Max. Max had told me all about these bad practices. Described the old industrial building outside of the city. How their room was up on the 4th floor and how they were in 2 different rooms before they got the big one on the end. I felt like I knew it already.
I got to sit up on the loft thing that was created above the door so I had a perfect view of all 5 of them jamming out. I had dreamed of this moment. To be able to see them play live. I remember our talks late at night. The promises he made of if I ever came to his town. Of course, things changed. 9 months is a long time.
It was surreal.
They played Ghostbusters and Santana and other the songs I had heard about. I couldn’t stop smiling. To keep myself busy so I wasn’t just staring, I brought some paint and started painting scenes of oceans and the moon and rainbows on my legs. I didn’t want to catch his eye in case he looked up here. But I was happy. I LOVE live music and I pretended that it was a concert just for me 🙂
After, on our way home, I was defeated. Tired, sleepy, my heart and soul were drained. I wanted to sleep and then get on to my next destination.
Sweet, sweet Felix. He did so good the two days to make me feel welcome. I am sure he was not aware of all that was going on inside of me, but I am sure he caught on that I was quieter than the Penny he knew back in San Diego. I love that kid with all my heart and soul and owe him so much for all he did 🙂 I did truly have a wonderful time on the river and drinking and chatting with his roommates and the gypsy camp and
The hardest part is over.
I wish I would have gotten to talk to Max. Just him and I. Even for just a little bit. There are things I wanted to say. Feelings I wanted to convey. Things I wanted to thank him for.
But, it wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t have the time or courage to try to sit with just him and me.  But its over. I saw him. And it certainly didn’t go as I wanted it to, but it happened.
Never before have I felt so ugly. So fat. So gross. So blah. My mind was fucking with me. Or was it? Was I really that gross? All of their friends know me. I am sure. They have heard stories of how Max flew back to San Deigo after being in Hawaii. That ugly  voice took over, grasping my all of my thoughts and turning them icy, “I bet they think, “THIS is who he spent his time in San Deigo with? What the fuck? Some crazy, ugly, fat American girl?”
Oh the shitty things my mind tried to make me believe. Scrutinizing myself at every turn, only to be disappointed and disheartened.
Now it is today. the day I leave.. STILL no place to sleep. Tonight. Tomorrow.
I booked a BlahBlah car to Lugano.. a beautiful city on a lake near some mountains.. Still no response on couchsurfing. The hotels are too expensive. The hostels are booked.
So it looks like I might be spending tonight sleeping down by the beauty of the lake with a heavy heart and hopes and dreams that the upcoming days will bring peace and happy…

It’s crazy how, with this trip, eyes things go well, everything goes well, the universe conspires to create perfection. And when things start down downhill, everything goes, rolling and picking up prickly bits on the way. News from friends back home too. Nothing’s quite working out anywhere. 
I think I will allow myself a real breakdown tonight, alone, under the stars, so far away from anyone and anything I know, in a most gorgeous part of the world.. Life is beautiful, but it is also difficult. I am wary, yet excited of what adventures await..
From Lugano,  I will figure out how to get to Venice… or Florence.. or Sicily…?
“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”
~Jack Kerouac

Polska!


“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs. But people more than anything else. You will need other people. And you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living, breathing, screaming invitation to believe better things.”
~Jamie Tworkowski
Thursday June 23, 2016
Day 33
Warsaw, Poland

I arrived at the hostel I hastily booked that morning after learning my friend I was riding to Warsaw with had changed plans and wasn’t staying the night. I was on my own in Warsaw. It was too late too look for a Couchsurfer. That’s ok, I figured that staying at a hostel would be a fun and different way of experiencing Warsaw. I already had a couple nights with locals and had the best time…

The hostel I checked into was empty. Not a soul. I asked the guy behind the desk what happened to everyone. He said that they were really slow and there were only 2 other people staying there (it was a 6 room, 32 bed room hostel) and they had gone to dinner.

Shit. I thought. I needed human interaction. I needed to talk to people in English.

The Friday before, I had arrived in Gizycko, Poland to my friends place and the whole weekend was full of vodka, new friends, more vodka, more friends, sun and sleeping on a sailboat. Monday came and my friend had to work. I barely saw him. I was at his house, not his sailboat, so everyday I walked an hour to the little town and wandered around, exploding, observing… Not many people spoke English. I had no one to talk to. I got lonely very quickly. I tried to learn a couple things in Polish, but not enough to make a conversation. As the week wore on, I wore out. I watched the sunsets amongst cows next to sprawling fields of hay and a myriad of wildflowers. I was happy in those moments. Swimming in the lake. Sunsets. Walking. Meandering.

Wandering through an old abandoned fortress….

But the loneliness was eating away at my soul and I reverted back to what I do when I’m overwhelmed with sad. I began to hate my body. I wrote in my journal nasty things about my scar and my arms and everything. It was easier to focus on that than the issue at hand.

So, needless to say, I was very disappointed when I learned I wasn’t going to make any friends at the hostel that night.

I went back to my room. 4 beds. I had my choice of any of them. I chose the one under the window that overlooked the street below. People were leaning towards each other over tables on the sidewalk with glasses of wine and bread baskets, laughing. Couples were holding hands across the table and gazing into each other’s eyes, deep in conversation. Families were crowded around tables, moms with little ones on their laps.

I debated… My first thought was to stay right where I was. In the room. Sleep early. Fuck it. I didn’t need dinner.

Buuuuutt a tiny voice challenged me.. This was my opportunity to go out by myself… Prove to myself that I can do this. And my last night in Warsaw.

A little history, I had an eating disorder when I was 16-24. I was hospitalized once due to low weight and went to an eating disorder treatment center three times for 4+ months each. I still struggle with certain things… Body image.. Restaurants alone.. Eating in general. The utter loneliness of this past week was kicking it back in gear.

But I decided to go out anyway.

“Just a beer and a nice soup” I said to myself. “I can do this.”

I walked up and down the street. Everyone was happy. No one was sitting alone. Everyone has someone, or multiple someone’s. I tried to keep my spirits up, excited to eat some good food. But I could feel it all coming down. I heard Polish. I heard German. I even heard The occasional French. No English. I wandered down different streets in hopes of finding something. Nothing. It was getting late. Restaurants were closing. Anxiety begin to taint my thoughts. I would never find anything. I can’t do this.

Then I spotted a place with a huge outdoor patio. There were plenty of tables. Bright lights. I checked the prices. I checked the options.

Perfect.

The waiters seemed friendly. One smiled and brought me to my seat.

Perfect. I can do this. I looked around. Everything smelled amazing. I sat there. Time passed. Where was my waiter? I spotted him, crouched down, flirting with a table of young, pretty blond girls.

Okay. Sure. Whatever. He’s doing his job. He’ll come eventually. Fifteen minutes passed. Finally, he came over. Didn’t look at me, but flipped his note pad out and asked “What?”

Hmmmm… Did he mean what did I want? Was he going to finish his question?

Perplexed, I went ahead and ordered onion soup and a beer. I could see a smirk creep onto his face. He slapped the notepad shut, gave me a curt nod and left in a flurry, saying nothing.

Ok. Whatever. I occupied my time by looking around, dreaming of Barcelona (which is where I was flying to the next day), reminiscing on London and Paris and Concarneau and the previous weekend at Gizycko.

I snapped out of my reverie and checked the time.. 30 minutes had passed. People around me who ordered after me already had their food. Surely it couldn’t take that long to pour a beer and bring it over. I was within 10 steps of the bar. The restaurant wasn’t busy, it was clearing out, near closing. Three servers were milling about out front, joking with each other. My server was chatting it up with another group of ladies, this time they were older, fancy sophisticated women and his demeanor and voice had changed from his loose flirting with the younger ones.

Finally it came. The beer and the soup. The soup was bland. Unappetizing. The beer settled me a bit and I enjoyed every cold, crisp sip.

It’s bizarre to be in a place. So far from anyone I know. Not understanding anything people are saying. Not being able to read menus. Not being able to pay a proper compliment or reach out to people. In a good mood, which, honestly is most of the time, I would make attempts. Point at something on the menu and hope it wasn’t too gross… Find any way to connect with someone.. By hand gestures… The few words I knew in their language. But when I’m frustrated, dejected, lonely.. I tend to give up too easy.. Not a good habit of mine…

45 minutes after finishing, I still hasn’t heard a word from my server. Had barely seen him.

The laughter and happiness surrounding me felt like a slap in the face. My eyes began to water.

A sweet older lady server came over with sympathetic eyes and crouched down next to me. In perfect English she asked, “Honey, are you ok?”

And the dam burst. I couldn’t stop the tears. I couldn’t hide the sadness. I was drowning in lonely. I needed so badly to talk to someone. I broke down, sobbing, my body trembling. All the tables around stared at me.

She brought my check and I quickly paid and hurried back to my hostel. My eyes were blurry and still watering, it was difficult to see. I didn’t care who saw me. I wanted to go to my bed and call someone, anyone. Cry to them. I needed comfort.

But who would care enough to want to hear my sadness when I was living the life they dreamed of? It’s ok to be sad. Even on the epic journey through Europe. Adventure of a lifetime.

I had done such a good job moving around and keeping distance from people, trying hard not to rely on others that when it came down to it, I could think of no one that I knew well enough to talk to.

I went up to my room and cried for a good hour.

I never felt so alone. So scared that I had done such a good job of being independent that I had no one.

And I learned something.

I learned I need to work on something. Not just work on loving myself. But on trusting that the friends I HAD made really, truly did care, even if I hadn’t seen them in a year or two.

And at that moment. I yearned for stability. I wanted nothing more than a home to go home to. A job that I love and return home to a person I love. With bookshelfs of friendships and family. Pictures of my travels gracing the wall.

But I was alone. In an empty hostel in Warsaw, Poland. On a Thursday night at midnight.

And I eventually fell asleep, my pillow wet with disillusioned tears and my moms dreaming of the next adventure to come, hoping maybe this time, I’ll find a friend.

 

“The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.”
~Shirley MacLaine