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CZECH REPUBLIC | Wednesday, 16 October 2013 | Views [529]

Prague, Czech Republic.

I’ve lost count of my days wandering in and out of new cities.  I've not obtained sleep very often because of the insistent nature inside of me that screams, “DO NOT WASTE TIME.”

I found myself in this underground pub alongside a back street of the city center.  It’s some kind of golden dungeon that is filled with beer and the best goulash I have ever had (not American goulash, mom, that’s yours).

Only a few tables inside and most are empty with the exception of the old man sitting at the one nearest me.  He watched me as I walked in and sat down.  I’m sure he saw how excited I got by the ashtrays on the table and the discovery of the goulash.  I was no longer in control of my vocal cords; I literally had to make a sound every bite.

I pulled out my journal and started to ramble on about the typical things; museums, people I had met and of course, the goulash.  It was raining for most the time I had been there.  The city wasn’t really doing it for me like I had expected it too dreaming of it years earlier, so I wrote about it.  I really have to push past the things that clog my mind before I can discover anything new.  I let things go typically once they have hit the page. 

I watched this old man sitting by himself next to me ordering beer after beer and saying few words to the barmaid.  He must come here all the time.  I observed the old man observing everything and everyone else.  I wonder what he thought about the world, about people, about the goulash? Had he had it?

I start thinking of my parents, my brothers, my friends and my home…

In most cases it was purely gratitude toward life but at this moment, it was utter loneliness and confusion.  I’ve been alone for months with the constant broken record of conversations between travelers biting at my ankles.

Where are you from? Where are you going? Where have you been? How long are you traveling for? Cool! Bye! 

I started becoming short with strangers.

“Hey, lets push past the bullshit conversation and get down to some truth, what do you say?”

A chuckle, “Um, Ok…” Silence.

All I really wanted was to have someone next to me that knew who I was for some kind of understanding without the constant try.  I spiraled down into darker thoughts of being constantly alone.

In the midst of losing control of my confidant façade and sheer terror of my mood swings and self-pity, I expected to cry…But then a hysterical laugh took its place.

What a joke I have been putting myself through.

My entire journey thus far has been some kind of unconscious search for something “bigger than myself”.

I wasn’t sure what it meant but it sounded good, so I went with it. 

What I found in that pub was nothing bigger than myself. 

There was no grand epiphany about the universe or civilization or how I was going to save the world.  It was so much simpler than that. 

It was myself. 

And not like “I found myself”(I’m not one for clichés), more like, “I accepted myself” and the entire emotional spectrum. 

Shedding the fear of feeling everything to accept every aspect of what makes me human. 

Being okay with being completely out of control but now just aware.

I finally found comfort in the chaos.

People constantly say things like, “You are traveling alone? Isn’t it scary? Isn’t it lonely? I don’t think I could do that.”

Yes to those questions, it is lonely, it is scary, it is difficult, but not in anyway external.  Most people are terrified of the truth residing within. 

That is why there is a constant need for people around and empty conversation. 

Being alone forces you into your own mind and constantly examining it will face you with your bad habits and thought patterns.  And then more difficult you have to decide what to do with the information.

I've chosen the lonely life a traveler and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

After the laughing subsided I took a sip of my beer and held my glass up to the old man.

“Here’s to heaven and hell combined.”


 Caitlin Bond Murray




Tags: alone, beer, goulash, heaven, hell, on the road, pub, travel, traveler

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