So for the 5th time this last year and a half, I find myself alone, in my favourite bar that I always seem to find myself alone in for one reason or another, on Khao San Road. Some of the times have been happy, some times nervous, some times exhausted, one time plastered in mud being shot in the face by a water gun, this time heartbroken.
Travelling is the best thing anyone can do, you hear it all the time – The generic “travelling” – and it absolutely is all the fabulous things people say it is. But what doesn’t get mentioned in any of the Lonely Planets or funny stories is the one shitty thing, the big major sweating bummer about travelling (other then the thousands of bug bites and inevitably getting your camera stolen)… And that is saying goodbye to people you love.
Despite trying to be as hard faced as possible due to the not so delightful scoundrels I’ve had the misfortune to spend time with, essentially I am and always have been stupidly mushy. I get attached like you wouldn’t believe. Seriously. I came to this bar with a solid determination to drink a whiskey and look as morose and menacing as I feel – but I never could stomach the stuff. So instead I’m sat here with a Mai Tai listening to a band who are really very good (although they’ve just started playing “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys, which in my current mood I could murder them all for) and this is what I’ve come up with.
There are many ways to love someone. For as many people I meet that I could happily punch in the face, there are 50 more that I wish could be near me all the time. I’ve met and loved so many people on my Asian adventure, and I’ve found myself bereft many a time… To name but a few: my two Dutch boys who I only had the pleasure of spending a few days with. The dream team girls (oh how I cried when our hands parted on Phi Phi pier Sylvia). My obnoxious Canadian, and of course, of course Ireland, Sarah and Erica. You love people in different ways for different reasons – all unique, sparkling and beautiful. You spend days, weeks, even months sometimes on the road with these people. But it doesn’t matter, once they’ve impacted on you that’s it. They’re with you in some, way, shape, form, memory, photograph for life. And as much as you say “it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later”, you know that some of them you’re just never going to get to see again. And that sucks. Especially if you’re as soppy as me.
Then sometimes you rock up to an island like Phi Phi and enter a bit of a different ball game, it still has an expiry date but it becomes a home and for those there for any length of time, the people more like a family then friends. People come and go but you get to know them just a little bit more, and more importantly, you survive Phi Phi together. And then just sometimes you love someone in a bit of a different way. The feel and shape of someone’s hands. The way somebody knows you even if you don’t speak or they can’t see you. The way they can make you laugh by being simply the most ridiculous person you’ve ever come across. By crying into an orange fanta bottle together about something neither of you are going to remember in the morning. By running away from a bar together so fast you end up throwing up along the way whilst crying with laughing. By being so mad with someone you’re determined you’re never going to talk to them again, as you’re walking to their room. By a look, a glance, a song, a stupid video on youtube that no one else finds funny. By surviving rumours, and finding that you can’t sleep that well when they’re not there, even if they do have stupidly dainty ankles.
When you find those ones along the way, and you know that the inevitable is going to strike one day no matter how much you don’t want to think about it, or try to put it off – that’s when travelling can be a real shitter. That’s when you find yourself on your 5th Mai Thai at a bar getting sympathetic looks from the staff, alone again with another piece of your heart stolen and on it’s way to the other side of the world. BUT. I would rather love with all of me and it to go away, I would rather have this life and find myself doing tequila with two Thai boys who are depressed about the football scores, then never of had it at all. I would rather have sorrows to drown, because that means someone meant enough for there to be sorrows there. I firmly believe that these people come into your life for a reason and it hurts so much when they’re not there anymore. But I’d rather have that hurt and spend tonight skyping my mum, then none of it ever happening.
To all you beautiful ones who have meant everything to me, for however long you were there for, and to my own personal Phi Phi wrecking ball… Thank you. I’ve had a fucking blast and if I make it to old and dribbling in a nursing home somewhere it will be memories of these times that will always make me warm and fuzzy inside and give me the strength to carry on being as much of a pain in the ass as possible to the poor bastards looking after me.
And, I suppose, who knows. Life is a funny old thing and just sometimes maybe it will be see you later and not goodbye. X