I realise that very little of what I have written recently has been focused on my internal state. Stories of idyllic places and captivating people and experiences gloss over any reflection of who I am as I move through these sets at such a pace.
And for the most part, the stories, the places and the people have kept me occupied in my head and growing in my heart at such a clip that I hadn’t really thought to reflect on it – as happens in many periods where I feel that I am learning and growing. After Christmas night, boarding the bus to Maputo at 02h30 meant no sleep and nine hour of patchy rest and prayers to arrive througout the morning and early afternoon. I travelled with some of the Peace Corps volunteers fro mthe previous night, who had been in Vilanculo for Christmas – always great company in odd places, if you can find them. On arrival, there was no free dorm space, so I relocated to The Base backpackers nearer the Maputo harbour. For the dirst time since just arriving, I was back to square one – alone in a foreign place, with friends met and familiar places all disappeared into memory.
But frequently, in hanging onto beauty until it is extinguished, the world becomes and uglier place.
And so, no longer peddling forward at a mad pace, I find myself lonely. One week has elapsed since I arrived and two more – from tomorrow in the company of friends – remain. I know there will be more adventures, more things to see, but I can feel a distinct sense of limbo tonight. Mixed with it is the sad realisation that in longer term travel, there must be more of this. Much more. Casual goodbyes where neither of you may ever end up in the same country, nevermind face to face again. But then a memory percolates into my thoughts from earlier this week – of Denis at the Vilanculo backpackers pining over France again while watching a video. Asked if he would like to copy it, he declined, “It should remain in the present, I do not want to hang on” he responded. And so it is with this feeling of loneliness. It is grounded in the human desire to hang onto something that is beautiful – to keep its beauty in our lives until we have had it all. But frequently, in hanging onto beauty until it is extinguished, the world becomes and uglier place. In staying too long in a moment, we outgrow it. Better then to let it slip gently into memory, where it can remain beautiful forever, and never become too small to contain us.