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ONE DAY, ONE ROOM – Letter to all my (travel) Phantoms and Friends

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

Dr. Gregory House: They’re out there, doctors, lawyers postal workers some of them doing great some of them doing lousy. Are you going to base your whole life on who you got stuck in a room with?

Eve: I’m going to base this moment on who I’m stuck in a room with. It’s what life is. It’s a series of rooms and who we get stuck in those rooms with adds up to what our lives are.

Dear all my Phantoms and Friends,

I’ve never been good in starting letters … which is rather a pity as I started too many and finished at the introduction. Like if I needed to put my thoughts out of me but my brain changed it’s mind a while after deciding it’ll be better for both of us if I keep it for myself. I am though determined to finish this one and I am determined to make it both the massage to the people it’s actually directed to and a part of my new travel series which some of the travelers who’ll read it will hopefully find find enriching and start a discussion to which all members of this(lastingly abondoned by me) community of Polish Girl Travels The World readers create.

Let’s go to essentials.

Have you ever met this guy who is always sourranded by group of his ten best mates who he has been with in the very same class since primary up to high school, among whom he met his wife (who he already knew better than his sister before he even got interested in girls) and right now their kids are playing together in a swimming pool every Sunday on the barbeque? I am sure each of you did and the one who never felt this divulsive envy, let him cast the first stone.

Having been (whether you like it or not) partly raised up on american TV series I believed nothing in the world counts more than a cosy, little group of loyal friends, who’ll be there for you forever, in sickness and in health, so long as ye both shall live.

That was my dream at 12 years old.

The point is that up to at least 15 years old we cannot really speak about what we define as ”us” … Because 5 years old me, 10 years old me and 12 years old me are three different people.

The growth, the change is too big and too fast… if you even met on of those, I am sure majority of us wouldn’t recognize. Luckily, or unluckily as you prefer, I am endowed with an extraordinary memory so I can easily refer to every single version of ”me”… I remember everything, reflections I had, smells, colour of the Tshirt I had on me that day, emotions I felt, pictures I captured.

It’s not showing off though, it’s just what makes it so odd everytime I look back.

I was never really good at friendships. The first friend I actually made by myself (you cannot imagine how proud I was) was a guy from my school who we got on so well with. It was so easy and so natural that I hardly imagined spending a day without us playing sports or chatting. And than the day came, the day turned into week and into a month… I was just not that kind of a person, not that position did I have in a class, you know how these things work in primary. I saw him few times since we left school at 13, I said ‚hi’ , he must have not heard me. We exchanged few massages on facebook a while ago. That’s how it ends.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an introvert, shy person. My family must have known that when they told me I’ll find myself friends in Middle School .. and then it didn’t work so they said I’ll find some in High School. People liked me of course, I really think they did they in school … but it was just never that, I was never invited for a party nor for a drink. That’s just that thing with me.

I started to actually travel when I was more less 16. People say it’s easy to make experience, difficult to make real friends while you travel. So, well the first serious trip abroad I went on alone was the first time I actually felt like if I was really having a group of friends. But I was much younger, much more immature, much less experienced… and finally, I have never traveled before. So it’s been a week and a week past. And I came back home.

It’s been three years since I started traveling. Traveling a lot comparing to majority of those I know. And I met dosens of people and I mean it. I could say I don’t remember majority of them but that wouldn’t be true of course. I remember their faces, their names, countries they’re come from… But it doesn’t matter after all, it’s like going to a local cafe and realising the guy near to you have this awesome, extraordinary coat which you’ll be remembering and repeating to your best friend for a month ahead.

This letter is directed to specific people, rather a few people actually. Who, if my theory is even a little bit right, will probably understand that it’s directed to them. I refer to these guys I met suddenly, unexpectedly, somewhere on the edge of Europe … and who have been in this bloody room with me for a day, a week extended by a day, a week of facebook messages and who I never heard from again, for who’s last massage I haven’t answered myself, who I haven’t spoken to for a year and suddenly took it up again. All those people who are right now just those highly realistic phantoms in my head, made of every single little word said which (no matter how hard I try not to) I am obligated to remember,

every minute we laughed,

every single moment we sang out loud on the street,

the time we walked down dark norwegian streets in silence, smelling the scent of the sea,

the time we watched the stars by the lighthouse,

the time we climbed all these fences and rocks and I knew nothing can happen to me cause there’s always someone to catch me if I fall,

the time we run down the estonian forest path by night – in swimsuits,

and the time when I came back from the exam and we all had this two hours-long conversation like if nothing happened,

the time we splashed cake on our faces,

the time we almost bucked each other off to the water,

the time we admired this breathtaking panorama of Rome in the sunset…

So I want to tell you all – I hate my memory, I hate walking down the street and feeling the breezy smell of a fresh wheaten bread and reminding myself every single moment me and one of you spent together this one time a year ago. I hate hearing a song in a club and seeing how the picture of us shouting it walking down the street in the night metarialised in my head. And I hate the smell of the sea, and the swash of the water as it reminds me all of you and I just cannot stand it!

So if we take it as a principle and the life is series of rooms and who we get stuck in those rooms with adds up to what our lives are. Then it kind of explain why am I feeling like this kind of doll from old polish cartoons, sewed of the textil patches of different colors and patterns.

Because every minute I’ve spent with you and every conversation we had built the person I am right now – a person without a proper home, without proper friends and without proper idea of who I am and what I want to do with my life.

But what I actually wanted to tell you is that I miss you. I miss you all. I regret all those pieces of your stories I could listen for hours with a cup of blackberry, honey-sweeten tea at the fireplace, I regret all those songs we would once hear at the party realising we both love it and we know the lyrics to shout it out loud while driving by night at the coast, and I regret speaking about friends and places starting from ”Do you remember when he ..?” without asking an hour-long explanation who are we speaking about.

I had my prom this year as I’m a senior in high school. I invited my friend, the one I’ve known since the very day I was born. We went dancing and we didn’t even have to ask each other if the song fits us, we didn’t need words, just a quick glance to exchange three questions and answers in a raw. We’re not meeting regularly since we were 12 years old, I could hardly mention a single fact from his current life. But I still need no words to communicate with this – currently- grown up man.

I thought I was sick of looking for home. For a place to settle down. Sick of meeting people and living with the fear of their disappearance who cares if in a day or a month while I should be looking for friends who’ll appear in my life to stay.

Don’t get me wrong, I still want to find them at least that’s what I am certainly going to do and that’s what the next articles (more travel-like actually) will be in part about.

But I needed to write what I have just written to realise I can survive some more years of uncertainty, some more years of constant consciousness that I do not know if the people I meet, the places I see will be the one I’ll be seeing a month, a year ahead …

What I realised is that I don’t mind it because in this very moment rather than finding this very one place on the earth (which I don’t really feel ready to look for right now) I want to spend as much time as I have left before I settle somewhere and as much time as you’ll manage to give me in the coming years to sit with each of you in a sunny living room with a cup of blackberry, honey-sweeten tea in my hands and listen to your story, laugh over your jokes and sing out loud with you as long as I know that when I see you again, even if it’ll be 10 years ahead, I can look at you guys with a mute question ”Shall we dance to this song or do you want a drink?” and I will not even need a nod see you understood the question and to understand the answer.

No matter how many times, to how many countries and for how long will I have to move in the years ahead.

And if you say I’m crazy… I know I’m being mainstream but if people don’t laugh at your dreams you’re not aiming high enough.

Love,

Ulli

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