Photo by Nicholas Strobelt
Travel is about meaningful experiences. The countries and culture paint a rich backdrop, but the experiences themselves are what grow most meaningful. Surrounded by crystalline water and violet skies, the provocation of interesting conversation becomes simple yet brilliant. Dreams of what the night may open to you race through your head. Being on a budget brings you closer to people. Tolerating cold showers becomes a point of empathy with your fellow dwellers. You laugh knowing that although you were woken up by the shenanigans in the bottom bunk, the culprits are going to be in their own personal hell catching a flight at seven the next morning.
Traveling allows you to be whoever you want and do whatever you want to do. There is no status quo or expectations with the people around you. You can enjoy company in its purest form. People lie in the sun longer than they should, salsa dance in bars and kiss for the sake of it. They tumble into beds in crowded rooms and get primal with each other. When you don’t have to endure the past or a foreseeable future with someone, you aren’t afraid of whether a decision is irresponsible or undignified. You can kiss the boy you met at the beach if only because the Spanish sun has made you thirsty, the Sangria is raining down and he has a particularly sensational pair of lips. Justification is irrelevant. At this moment there is no tomorrow, just the murmur of hips moving together and the young craving of human affection, all for no particular reason.
Saying goodbye becomes commonplace. Some you’ll see again, most never, but there is always a last wistful moment of wonder. In another place or time, would these people have become important in your life? Could they have become friends, family or lovers? But that’s the beauty of it. Without the constraints of the daily grind people allow fever to run through their veins. The experiences you have traveling are not compatible with the monotony of routine.
So you think back on the people you’ve met and the people you will meet. Their faces return to you while you snake over borders in long distance trains. You’ll think fondly of the stoner Canadian you came to appreciate and of the army boys who skinny dipped shamelessly. You’ll admire the depth of conversation with the English lads while drinking Cava under a statue of Christ the Redeemer. You’ll wish you had taken more care of the emails scribbled haphazardly on pieces of paper. These moments will be your saviour on return to a world which runs from 9-5 and enforces workplace health and safety.
These moments will make you laugh, perhaps cry and always question whether by some serendipitous turn of fate you all ended up at the same illegal hostel where no bathmat was available. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, and by that I mean drink wine and mentor a young companion with whom you can have sex. Make your moments memorable.