turns out 

“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”— Jack Kerouac, On the Road

It’s been a few hours since I wrote that last post, and it’s made a world of a difference. I wish I’d sat down a week ago to get that all off my chest, but maybe I wasn’t ready or didn’t have the time. Either way, it feels as though a weight has been lifted off me. I can now appreciate what it—and he—was without feeling sad about what they weren’t. And move forward whether something comes of it or not. Let it be, let it go, or wait and see what happens. Turns out, all I needed was to put pen to paper (or fingertips to a keyboard, in this case) in order to sort out my plethora of feelings and b r e a t h e. Journaling is a magic form of therapy, and I know when I need it. Thank God.

“She didn’t want the whole world, just somebody to share it with.” 


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sad songs

“We met at the wrong time. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway. Maybe one day years from now, we’ll meet in a coffee shop in a far away city somewhere and we could give it another shot.”

I’m sat alone in Letna park, in a patch of shade overlooking the Old Town of Prague. The three Australian girls I met in my hostel room last night have just left me, and for the first time in over a week, I have a chance to think. To reflect, to write. And in a way, to grieve.

Last night, I saw a man in a suit hand over the lead of a black lab puppy to a haggard-looking woman who was clearly on drugs. He paid her 100 CZK in cash and she yanked the dog harshly, holding the leash tight and dragging it upwards by the neck, making it yelp. Watching it all sort of broke my heart, and I wanted to cry. 

Some people might say I’m a pessimist, and a lot of the time I’d agree with them. But deep down, when it comes to it, I’m a dreamer. A hopeless wanderer, with itchy feet and an open mind prone to fantasies. I love adventures, and the idea of romance, and I want it all, together. I used to want it abstractly and from a distance; it was more of a “someday” sort of dream than an active one. Until I got a little taste. Just a drop—three days. But it was enough.

Enough for me to want more, and to realize I probably won’t get it. Not this time, at least. It’s odd, because I’d never really worried about being clingy before I traveled. I’ve always been pretty good at separating my feelings, isolating the annoying or unnecessary in the presence of someone who might not reciprocate them. And I’ve had flings, and even hookups, during the last three months abroad. They’re fun, and they don’t last. We go our separate ways. We might stay friends on Facebook, or we might not remember any more about each other than a blurry face and a first name. That’s the unspoken rule of travel: you let go. Everyone’s here to meet people and see the world, not to stay or settle down or fall in love. Not in a way that lasts, at least. But somehow, despite knowing all of this, I sort of did.

I don’t wish it didn’t happen, not really. He’s a good, good guy. One of the best I’ve met. In fact, I can only think of one other guy I’ve known, back home, who comes across as pure and lovely as this one. My cynical British friend insists I’m naive about it, too hopeful and foolhardy. But I know. I’ve met good guys, I’ve met decent guys, bad guys as well. But only a few are… tender and pure. I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s more of a feeling, that they respect you, treat you like an equal. They might be more reserved with touch because they’re a bit shy and don’t want to overstep your boundaries. They’re sweet and can express their feelings but they don’t overload you with them. They feel lucky to be with you, but not because they’re insecure. I’m doing a shit job of trying to articulate it, but like I said, when I meet one of these guys, I know.

I feel fortunate, really. It was a beautiful thing for me, and I’ll always have the memories. But it still hurts. It feels like I lost something that I only barely managed to grasp as the time slipped away. Part of it is lust, of course; I’m not entirely immune to that feeling, or the knowledge that it’s a factor in all of this. But for me at least, there was an audible click. And the hard part is not knowing whether he heard it too. Or rather, whether it was loud enough to last. Like I said, I’ve never worried about being clingy, but expectations are different with travelers. Snapchatting or messaging a few times a day at home would be normal, but I’m suddenly worried it’s too much. That maybe I’m a bother. This is all internal fear; nothing he’s done has implied as much. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised when he messaged me that day, after we’d said goodbye. I left expecting it to be over, and was prepared to resign myself to it. I prefer to leave rather than be left, so perhaps I’m overanalyzing the signs, preparing for the worst and to be the first person to take that step if need be. It’s such a long shot for anything to come of it… And yet I want something to. That’s what makes me a dreamer, and that’s what makes it hurt. Because in some parallel world or storyline, something like this could happen, and does happen, for people. The knowledge that, if feelings and motivation were mutual, something grand could emerge from a simple travel fling makes the leaving hard sometimes. Painful even. Because they often aren’t or maybe they are but the two people don’t know that they both feel the same way. Want the same thing. We’re too scared to be honest, to make ourselves vulnerable, and who knows how many opportunities we miss out on because of those fears. I fear rejection, because rejection ruins the dream. And if you let it, taints the beautiful memories. 

I’ve never had a breakup before, never had my heart broken. Not in love, anyway. This is probably the closest thing to it I’ve felt, and I don’t quite understand why. Why him, why now. I wasn’t even looking for anything that night, had worn a loose dress and little makeup and thrown my hair in a bun because I was tired of going home with someone. Tired of missing out on dancing with my friends because I’d met a guy. It’s funny how you find what you’ve been looking for when you finally stop searching for it. And it’s sad because the beginning was almost the end for us; we were both about to move on. 

I could have stayed another night. Thought about it, but not really. I was going to stick with my new friends and see another town, because after all, that’s what I’m here for. Not boys, but places. And the people I meet along the way. But then he came the next day, and stayed up all night with me, long after our friends had gone to bed, because I had to catch an early bus and didn’t want to sleep and didn’t want to miss a moment of this goodbye. I can’t say how much I appreciated that. To sleep with someone—twice—without any sex. Without feeling like I owe something, or that someone expects it from me. Not to say I didn’t want to, because I did. But I think it means more to me this way. It’s more special, rare, and therefore treasured. 

It’s hard right now to imagine meeting another guy. Charlie Puth’s lyric “Does it feel, feel like you’re never gonna find nothing better?” comes to mind. I’ve only thought that before about one other guy, the only other good, good one that I’ve known. (Known and been interested in, I should say.) And even with him, it wasn’t to this extent. That adds to the sadness, because I can’t help but wonder about the “what if’s” and the “might be’s”. Will the feelings fade? They have to, if nothing comes of them, because people move on from real relationships and breakups all the time. They survive, and thrive, and fall in love again. At the moment, I don’t understand how, but I guess I’ll just have to trust the journey. Travel is crazy, and can make you crazy, I swear it. Yet I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. 

After a week, I think that’s what I needed to say. To get it out of my system, or at least sort it out a bit in my head. Writing down my feelings helps me validate and understand them, and I’ve been in a bit of a limbo this last week having them bounce around with no sort of sense. This has been a stream-of-conscious post, which I love doing when I want to dump my thoughts and feelings onto paper (or in this case, the notes section of my phone) without worrying about making them sound orderly or pretty. Despite the fact that I’ll probably post this on my blog, it’s not for anyone else. If you can take something from it, all the better, but I wrote it for me, and I hope that if you’re reading it, you can understand and respect that. I’ve been pretty open and vulnerable, and I hope to God that doesn’t make me come across as fucking clingy. Or crazy. And that I can stop worrying about those words entirely. 

“So we’ll just let things take their course, and never be sorry.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

vienna

Turns out, Vienna wasn’t waiting for me. And I wasn’t waiting for it. I’m really not vibing with this city, which is disappointing considering I spent a couple hundred dollars to be here for four days. What I am vibing with, however, is the flat I’ve rented out and the sick new pair of Marni boots I bought at Chegini’s yesterday for half off. All right, the imperial architecture in the city center is pretty spectacular, as well—if only they’d have signs that told me what the f**k I’m looking at. In case you were curious, or just enjoy reading my whinging, here’s some more of what I’m not thrilled about: my sunburned face, my bank account balance, and the sad fact that I’m all out of chocolate. Vienna’s turned me into a whiny little brat. (“Turned?” my mother would ask incredulously.)

Now that I’ve gotten most of my complaining out of the way…

I’ve spent the entire day in this wonderful flat. I could live in Vienna if I could live here. It’s funny because yesterday I did a full face of makeup in the morning to get myself out. Anyone who knows me knows I usually can’t be bothered with painting my face; I just don’t feel the need. I will occasionally for parties or special occasions, or when I need to remind myself that yes, I can be pretty, but never for a day of sightseeing. But I was just so unmotivated yesterday that I decided to do it, a little pamper and a push out the door—because who stays in all day with a full face of makeup on? Probably some people, but definitely not me. And then today, I just lounged around all day inside, though I did manage to get dressed (if throwing on a t-shirt and shorts with no bra counts).

I’m waiting for The Wolf of Wall Street to download, as that’s how I’ve decided to spend my night: watching Leonardo DiCaprio play a greedy, alcoholic druggie. The film is fantastic. Fun fact that I neglected to mention in my last post (that has nothing to do with Leo, but is loosely related to cigarettes, which I suppose are a sort of drug) is that security at the Edinburgh airport took away my peanut butter, but let me keep my razor, lighter, and scissors. Can someone p l e a s e  explain to me the logic behind that? What, I’m going to knock the entire flight crew out with an almost-empty jar of peanut butter, but won’t kill them two at a time with my razor and scissors while simultaneously burning down the plane?

Anyway…

Here are some quotes I’ve found or been sent in the last few days.

“She wants everything because she doesn’t know what she really needs. One day she’ll settle for nothing.”
Shawn R. 11.29.09

“Tonight we’ll eat the innards together
We’ll sit at the large living room table separated by a cluster of dying stars.
An entire cluster
But I believe in us.”
Nashmarkt, Vienna

“do not place your self worth in your vegetable shape. you are better than that.”
Delaney J., my #1 G

“The air is alive with sound. Liberated waterfalls dance their way down cliffs and crevices.”
Terminal 12B, Keflavik International Airport

“Love is… Being owned by a Doberman.”
Sign at a tourist shop in Edinburgh

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”
Voltaire

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.'”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

“I think the problem is that we depend on our lovers to love us the way we should love ourselves.”

“Stop running after the waves. Let the sea come to you.”
Elif Shafak

“Psychologists say that shame ruins your capacity for reverie by making cracks in the mind where it is dangerous for thought to wander.”
Anne Carson, Float; “Shame Stack”
(It isn’t always shame though, that does it for me.)

“your words are still inspiring
if no one knows of them;
are galaxies less striking
when no one looks at them?”
(Here’s a philosophy puzzle for you.)

“if you want to be happy, be.”

“Do you ever wonder how many people’s dreams you’ve been in?”
And whose.

“Let your heart lead you, do not be afraid, for there will be much to regret if reason and sense and fear are your only markers.”
Tara Conklin, The House Girl

“Time is precious.”

“If it is important enough to you, you will find a way. If it is not, you will find an excuse.”

“Your naked body should only belong to those who fall in love with your naked soul.”
Charlie Chaplin in a letter to his daughter, Geraldine
Now this is a nice sentiment, Charlie, and by and large I agree with you that this is probably the ideal way of going about love and such in a perfect world. But should is a strong word; a woman should do what she pleases with her body and soul, naked or otherwise. I’m sure Mr. Chaplin’s heart was in the right place.

“Save water! Shower with your girlfriend.”
I just saw this on Tumblr and thought it was really funny. As an environmentalist (global warming is real!), I approve.

“I have been told, sometimes, the most healing thing to do is remind ourselves over and over and over: other people feel this too.”

“For most of history, anonymous was a woman.”
Virginia Woolf

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!'”
Jack Kerouac, On the Road

I really, really need to read On the Road, because I connect with every quote I’ve read from it. But there are just too many books, and too little time. I read seventy five books last year, while this year I think I’ve read around ten. It’s sad in the sense that I love reading, and would like to read more, but I’ve been doing so many other amazing things that I can’t regret it. It’s all been time well spent.

Until Next Time.
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solace in solitude

“When will you realize… Vienna waits for you?”
— Billy Joel, “Vienna”

Vienna. That’s where I am right now. To be more specific, I’m sat alone in a flat in a supposedly hip neighborhood, trying to decide whether I want to write or fall back asleep. I’ve been here since this morning, yet I haven’t seen any more of the city than the bus into town and my walk to the supermarket allowed. I feel a bit guilty about that, wasting a day. But I am exhausted.

The last week has been a whirlwind. I absolutely love meeting people while traveling—it’s one of the reasons I stay in hostels— and I find that the people I get to know tend to be cooler than the places I visit. The thing about making fast friends, though, is that I don’t have much time for myself. I’m only going to be with them for x number of hours, days, and then I’ll likely never see them again, which is a sad reality in itself. The constant on-the-go nature of traveling and meeting people lends itself to early mornings and late nights, and that lends itself to me being absolutely knackered. It’s caught up to me by now, the rush and rigor of it all, and I’m looking forward to having a room and flat to myself for a few days, to rest and do my own thing before heading to a hostel in Krakow where I likely won’t be resting much at all.

I’m sure the idea of being completely alone for four days would frighten some people, but I’ve always enjoyed solitude. It gives me a chance to think, to reflect, to recharge every once in awhile. I’ve become more of a people person again over the last few years, but I still appreciate the value of being alone. The windows are open here, and I can hear the rush of cars outside, the wind blowing in and stirring about, and my own thoughts. Despite my tiredness, I feel peacefully content.

Today I had a nap at three o’clock, only to wake up at ten and still feel tired. Today I’ve eaten about three quarters of a wedge of brie cheese, and most of a large bag of peanut m&m’s, and I don’t feel fat. I don’t feel shame or guilt. Either I’m too tired, or I’ve really come a long way—probably a combination of both. Today I talked to my dad for the first time in a long while, since I left the States. Today I was reminded what it is like to feel like a foreigner, after nearly a week of feeling like I fit in, like I belonged. I didn’t realize how at home I felt in Scotland, surrounded by wonderful, English-speaking humans, until I arrived in Austria and remembered I know next to no German and have very little idea of what I’m even doing here. The weather is shite in the UK, but the people are good. And their sense of humor is even better. In a strange way, I feel like I should’ve been born British. I have yet to meet one I don’t like, and the Isles are one of the few places I’ve traveled to that I click with enough to think “I want to live here.” Well, if not for the terrible weather, that is.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Bon Iver the past few days. His music is mellow and haunting: the perfect soundtrack for the rolling hills and mist of the Scottish Highlands. His lyrics don’t seem to make much sense until you listen to them, until you inhale and exhale and sigh along with them. The instrumentals. And his voice, my God.
Here are a few lyrics from my favorite songs.

“aiming and it sunk and we were drunk and we had fleshed it out
nose up in the globes, you never know if you are passing out”
Michicant

“So it’s storming on the lake
Little waves our bodies break
There’s a fire going out
But there’s really nothing to the south
Swollen orange and light let through
Your one piece swimmer stuck to you”
Calgary

“But what do you lose to concede?
And yes it’s hard to believe
When ’em sold for your sleeves
Just come off of your kneel
Please, please, please
I can admit to conceal
No, that’s not how that’s supposed to feel
Oh, no
(It’s not for broader appeal)
Fuck the fashion of it, dear”
666 ʇ

“And I told you to be patient
And I told you to be fine
And I told you to be balanced
And I told you to be kind
And in the morning I’ll be with you
But it will be a different kind
And I’ll be holding all the tickets
And you’ll be owning all the fines”
Skinny Love

“Sea and the rock below
Cocked to the undertow
Bones blood and teeth erode
They will be crashing low
Wings wouldn’t help you
Wings wouldn’t help you… down
Down fills the ground, gravity’s proud”
Rosyln

“There’s a black crow sitting across from me;
His wiry legs are crossed
And he’s dangling my keys he even fakes a toss
Whatever could it be that has brought me to this loss?”
Re: stacks

“Is the company stalling?
We had what we wanted: your eyes
(When we leave this room it’s gone)
With no word from the former
I’d be happy as hell, if you stayed for tea
(I know so well that this is all there is)
This is how we grow now, woman
A child ignored
These will just be places to me now
The foreman is down
(When we leave this room it’s gone)
We’re rising the stairs

​i FIND GOD
AND RELIGIONS, TOO…
Staying at the Ace Hotel
If the calm would allow
Then I would just be floating to you now
It would make me pass to let it pass on
I’m climbing the dash, that skin”
33 “GOD”

Hands down, one of my favorite artists. If you read those lyrics and are thinking, “what the f*ck,” then go listen to the songs and I think you’ll understand the magic I’ve described.

Also, these two sets of lyrics have been in my head this evening, along with Billy Joel’s “Vienna,” which I’m convinced was written about me because it is so accurate.

“May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young”
— Bob Dylan, “Forever Young”

“Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do”
— Coldplay, “Yellow”

I think there might not be anything more magical in this world than the night sky, a sky full of stars.

But enough with lyrics for now. Although I pondered a lot whilst on the long bus rides during my highlands tour, and wrote several posts in my head while doing so, I am running out of steam (and brain power) for the night and will have to come back to them, either here or in my journal.

Thank you, J, for the title.

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flying

Does it feel, feel like you never gon’ find nothing better?
— Charlie Puth, “Does It Feel”

When I love a song, I love it. I listen to it on repeat, sometimes for hours, other times for days. Music has this beautiful way of painting pictures in my mind, scenes from daydreams that I can replay over and over or expand upon, depending on the lyrics, rhythm, and my mood. Poets do it too, paint pictures with words. I’d like to have that skill, one I believe is a magic of sorts. Words have an indescribable power.

As I was thinking about this on my flight yesterday (today?), I had a few semi-poetic thoughts myself.

1. From all I’ve read and seen of love, most lovers must be like clouds. They appear embracing and safe and lovely, but if you take a leap of faith (or foolishness), they won’t hold you up.
2. Soaring above the horizon of clouds, the setting sun looks like molten lava.
3. Sunrise turns the clouds into cotton candy: pink mist that gives me hope in this beautiful, twisted world. Then the cloud-mist changes, absorbing the sun’s rays until it’s an orange creamsicle. The pastel hues are gentle, like watercolors, and they soothe my exhaustion, lulling me into content as I stare out the airplane window for hours, watching the sky change.

Now I’m sure a writer could turn these observations into majestic prose, but I’m not a “real” writer and am too jet-lagged to bother with trying to be at the moment. Meanwhile, Iceland is EXPENSIVE. Which I knew, but I didn’t quite know it was $27-hamburger expensive. Needless to say, I’ll be consuming a steady diet of bread, peanut butter, and bananas for the remainder of my stay.

I recently read this quote on the back of On Booze, “a collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s best drinking stories” (I haven’t read it, so I can’t confirm or deny this claim), and thought it was perhaps the truest, most relatable quote I’ve read in my life:

“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”

Tell me about it, Fitz.

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