Why I Don't Mind Chasing People All Over The World
Meet you in London for a croissant?
When I think back on my travels there are a few memories that I like to take out like old photographs — well loved with thumb prints and creased corners — and look at over and over again like they could take me back to that one moment.
I remember the buildings that are so pastel that they look like they're made out of spun sugar, or the crowded cobblestone streets that make your boots tap as you beeline for the tapas bar. I love the discotecas with the sticky dance floors and the hostel kitchens with the well-used pots and corner store wine. I miss the coffee shops tucked away into backpockets of cities, snug at the end of alleys or half-hidden around corner bends. And the people I sat underneath the rain-wet awnings with, splitting croissants and reading books as we pass the time together in a new country that's tempting us to throw out our passports and take up playing house.
And that's the thing: While I love the medieval cathedrals, the crumbling history of broken castle walls, the ruddy cheeked bakers and silver haired bartenders, the late night metro rides and the museum-like neighborhoods, the things that I remember the most are the people I've seen them all with.
And that's why I've spent as much of my Europe trip chasing after people as I had hunting down castles and putting on my dragon gear. There's this common feeling that showing vulnerability and giving more than you take is a bad thing — you'll be sticking out your neck too much. If I canceled my plans and instead took a train in the opposite direction to meet you in London for a croissant rather than head to Belgium for waffles as planned, then there's a big chance you can make me feel like a fool. And so everyone tells me not to do it. To stay put, to keep doing my own thing, to not change plans for the sake of someone else.
To which I say, stop being a candyass. Fear of showing someone you love them is the worst kind. Even if what you have is a friendly, light-whipped kind of love, there's something wonderful about expressing it and showing the other person you care. It makes you braver when it comes to leaping, more reckless when it comes to experiencing life, and happier in who you are because so many people have accepted pieces of you.
And if I'm okay packing my clothes into a suitcase and hauling it across an ocean to go visit piazzas or lemon-tree-lined roads, then surely I can do that to go visit people.
And so I chase my friends and my weekend loves all over the world, packing my socks next to my poetry books into my backpack and buying one way tickets to their apartments. I've gone back to Madrid to have a cup of coffee inside linoleum cafes with a new friend I wasn't ready to say goodbye to. I've flown to Vancouver to go to donut shops with a boy I fell head over heels with one weekend in Chicago, and the lavender-and-tea donuts were just as much of an incentive to go as his hugs on new city corners were. I flew back to Dublin just to get a whiskey cocktail with a girlfriend that felt more like a soul sister, and now I'm in a small little Irish town that's lined with rock-candy-colored buildings and dotted with locals that say good morning to you when you pass each other on the street, all because I kind of sort of fell in love with an Irish man in Barcelona and missed him too much to go take pictures of a new country.
I cancelled a plane ticket to Morocco to get to walk down city streets holding his hand, to which all my friends said "you're crazy," and "why do you chase people?" To which I say: If not people, then what? When you go travel, you're looking for a feeling. You want to be so giddy over life that you throw your arms around it and force it into a happy dance as you shimmy around. You want to be dazzled and overwhelmed and brimming with so many good feelings that you don't have the time to catch them all and sort them out. And sure, a fresco or a mosaic tiled piazza can give you that type of wonder, but never as much as a good friend.
And so I zip up my bag, put on my boots, and follow you where ever you tell me to.
Now the question is, are you brave enough to follow me?