We never stop taking cargo on board, never stop adjusting, stop repurposing what we have. We make do and we come out the other side, paper cranes of the person we were before. I’m trying to remember what I promised myself in that attic bedroom, trying to remember why I decided to come this far; what I thought I might find, or bet yet what I sought to lose. It is everything and nothing of I’d expected, which is my favorite part. More than anything I’m learning how to be quiet.
Traveling alone makes you unpack everything you are, lay it out and decide what comes with, and what gets left behind. No matter how tight you roll yourself, there is never enough room. Your habits become more obvious, your vices a little louder, the voices more real than ever before. It takes the sound proofing out between you and the world. I’m wondering now how long I was living like that. And if I have ever sat still with myself?
People sometimes talk about a place and they comment on how it isn’t what it used to be. But, you are not what you used to be either. We are as a place is, all side by side, the old and the new pressed so closely you stop being able draw lines between them. There is a coffee shop being built next to the rice field with the temple of death at the far end, and a girl is buying a t-shirt for her boyfriend, and I am drinking a coconut milk latte and wondering if it might rain before yoga tonight. We make the world the same way it makes us.
Why was I so worried all the time? I find myself now reaching forward where I used to always reach back. I’d rather not reach at all. It is wild to think of these weeks, alone, on an island, my island more than the actual physical place. All of the things I swore I couldn’t do and did. We are built up of those things. I get it now. She told me before I left, it will be the times in which everything goes wrong, when you are homesick, when you miss the flight, order poorly, get lost, when you feel like you cannot, that you will remember fondly. Everything I am because of this came out of the moments in which I wanted to more than anything cocoon inside myself, but couldn’t, because all I had was myself. And someone has to find the bus, book the ticket, order the coffee, brush the teeth.
We are for the most part built of scaffolding that is constructed in the moments in which we are sure we absolutely can not do or be what was being asked of us. And later you wonder where it all came from.