Eastern Europe: Back on the Right Side of the Road

I‘m back on the right side of the road, literally, but I’m much farther from home. I’m actually in a completely different world, realm, space, and perhaps even time.

Eastern Europe has a particular raw charm that is quite enticing. The graffiti and peeling stucco, the unlit streets, the structures and the fencing that reminds us of days long ago. History seems to revive itself here in the present, never truly being lost, forgotten, or covered up.

Budapest, Hungary. Here will be my home for the next indefinite amount of time that I haven’t quite decided upon yet. I had a brief moment of panic today in the silence of my new home (which I absolutely adore largely in part to the crystal chandelier that hangs in my living room). These moments of panic, I’ve come to realize, are normal when traveling. When we’re some place that’s completely new to us, especially in a place that doesn’t speak much of our native tongue, we resort back to our childlike states. At certain moments, we allow ourselves to become a lost child in search for our mothers. My recent panic has only reiterated to me that I must avoid silence at all times.

Luckily I’m wise enough to know that these moments do pass. A traveler is always urged to go home, to return back to familiar surroundings when things feel unfamiliar and slightly frightening, but a true traveler at heart persists and makes it through these times so that they can accomplish the truly glories of traveling long term. Being gone from home for nearly three months now, I think it’s safe to say that I am a long term traveler. I should be an expert at this by now.

But the loneliness does come. Touring a city on your own is incredible and rewarding, allowing you to soak it all up in the context of your own swirling thoughts and dreams. It wasn’t until yesterday when the thought came to me: It would be nice to do this with someone I love.

But that’s the thing about loneliness, isn’t it? And when you come to think of it, that’s the thing about human nature. We can go from being completely fulfilled and excited one moment to feeling utterly alone and desperate the next, and no matter what blessings we’re given in life, we always dwell on what we don’t have.

Well, I’ve decided not to dwell. I’ve told my loneliness that it’s not welcome here, in Eastern Europe, or anywhere else in the world, and I’ve made sure it understands just how ungrateful an emotion it is. “Don’t you see all that you have?” I tell it. “Can’t you just be thankful for that right now, and worry about being loved at a more opportune time?”

I may wake up alone, and go to bed alone, and spend my days alone, but I don’t have to be lonely. Besides, I want to be alone, and I enjoy being alone, and being alone is just what is good for me at this time in my life. Loneliness, therefore, is my enemy and being my enemy, it can’t possibly be a part of me.

Loneliness can stay on the left side of the road – and the bed – and I’ll stay on the right, where things are more familiar, a little more home, a little more me.