Right now its 12 midnight and am sitting at the Oslo rygge airport. My flight from Poland arrived 30 minutes ago and I had a small dinner: 2 slices of bread, cheese and ham. I looked around the airport: one toilet, lonely travellers and a kind security guard. And I thought about the life of travel: loneliness, a remove from reality and perhaps an addiction you can never quite shake.
There are very few places of such joy and sadness, places that can turn hollow, utterly hollow. Even my surroundings are a metaphor for all this, no computer so for the first time in a long time am writing this with paper and pen, the shadow from my head half obscures the page and there’s a deeper penumbra where my fist lends it a helping hand (there is not as much joy in this pun as there usually would be.) my companions wear no shoes; socks and patience their only shields from the thoughts no doubt assailing us.
In the life of travel is there really anything worse than not being picked up at an airport?
It’s worse than a really long stopover, it’s worse than people being late because it’s an announcement of arrival that the world denounces as a rival and does not deign to accept. It’s the other side of the journey that nobody but nobody told you about.
Kapuscinki wrote “there exists something like a contagion of travel and the disease is essentially incurable.” An addiction.
Why thoughts so morose, turns so melancholy? I had the trip of a lifetime, adventures that turn to myth in the lives that heard about them, cautionary tales for the next generation of polish children, “you will not believe what happened to this guy from Kenya on his second night here.”
But this it, is there ever anything we can’t forget that we don’t regret? Plus am tired and alone in the airport, 4 and half hours to go.
And this I realise is the true face of constant travel, travel is also heartbreak. How can you travel without falling in love? How can you fall in love without breaking your heart? How can you sit for 6 hours with a broken heart and not have dark thoughts come unbidden?
A life of travel is a life of loneliness; it is never putting down your roots and never letting anything grow. It is the most amazing memories a lifetime can give, it is the most heart-breaking goodbyes a soul can live.
I think about what I want to do with my life and law seems shot, travel that seductive siren has sung me her song, am not sure how I could do it yet or what job provides me such an opportunity but my heart is filled with a yearning to live here for a year, there for another, to work somewhere else and only touch base at home. But my heart can also hear as if in tune with it the beat of the airport; it is a slow, soulful sound. A long, silent sigh. A well-deserved why. It is loneliness distilled. The awful truth that for every journey there is an ending. And if you go on enough journeys they begin to look like an airport.
People leave the plane and there is noise and joy. There are yelps of excitement, long hugs, warming kisses. The crowd begins to shrink and it gives you more time to think as the people disappear one by one. In the end there is silence, the airport stands morose and melancholy. An occasional cough pierces the air, a sniffle, the closing of a bag, a page turn in a magazine and strange people with no shoes; just socks and memories.
The worst thing is if you have this contagion you have it and almost nothing takes it away. It’s all worth it because the end is never really the end and tomorrow there will be a bus, a train, a plane and tomorrow people will leave the plane to noise and joy and warm hugs and longing kisses.
As I transcribe this its past midnight on the 4th of April. My Easter holiday starts tomorrow and the light from the computer screen gives a glowy sheen to my skin. Tomorrow I get on another 8 hour train trip, my third in 7 days. I go to another airport, (Rygge for life) and I go to another country. Belgium, Brussels and beer. I am excited and pleased. My life is a dream I had longed for long before and here I am living it. The loneliness of travel cannot overcome its experience at least not yet. The contagion has not run its course and it never may.
Oh and I got this message a couple of hours ago from my hosts in Brussels “fellas I cant host you guys till Friday...we are full house till then....looking for alternative places but for now look for alternatives” so… yeah!