Last April, I rented an apartment for two months in Casablanca, Morocco. I do this occasionally during my world travels in order to be able to unpack my suitcases for awhile, as well as to cook meals in my own kitchen. But, there’s a downside. Loneliness! Here I was, in a modern apartment complex, but I didn’t know a soul and couldn’t speak the French or Arabic of my neighbors. Here’s a journal entry that I wrote on April 5, 2017.
“And now, this gorgeous morning, and the subject at hand in my journaling underlies the existential question awaiting everybody, every day: “How does one even get out the door, if there is nothing to go outside for?” In other words, “Without a meaning to life, how can one live?”
The weather looks beautiful outside of my kitchen window. But, if I go out, there’s no purpose in it. The street is ugly and full of construction work and no destination or errands call me anywhere. And, when they do, I taxi through more shambles and impersonal modernity; get my job done, and come home. Or, when taken out to supposed beauty and nice food, it’s all empty if I can’t speak meaningfully to anybody. And the food usually isn’t all that tasty or unique, and is way too much to finish. So I’ve simply endured an afternoon that I hadn’t chosen in the first place, with people I can’t talk to.
This is the way that depressed people act: “Why bother?” And, someone else might try to jolly them out of it….even if their nationality, their age, or their physical state sets them apart from the others.
But, “Meaningfulness” is the only cure and that must come from within.
This world-encompassing trip of mine both provides and consumes (uses up) my own Meaning: Adventure! Exploration! The Unknown! New experiences! When that drains away, I know that I must move on; and there’s no guarantee that the tank will refill at the next spot.
But, I keep hoping!”
Today’s comment: Luckily, that sort of isolation has been rare on this trip. I attribute that to the fact that I stay in hostels all over the world; rather than hotels or short-term rentals. Those are lonely! Hostels are not! It doesn’t matter that I’m much older than the usual backpacker because we all have the basics in common. We are the modern-day EXPLORERS; every bit as gung-ho and feisty as the ancient ship captains were, from whom we are all, undoubtedly, descended. I happen to know my genealogy very well and the sea is an important part of my history.
It’s certainly true that my ancestors got antsy if they had to stay in port too long.
Whatcha’ gonna do?
Hello to all my beloved Fans, Friends & Relations!
My last post on this travel site, as well as my www.insecretdiffusion.com website, was months ago, when I had just arrived in Morocco. I’d been on the hosteling/backpacker trail for a year and a half and life was gooooood. I was about to rent my own apartment for a couple of months and I planned to post photos of the process. HOWEVER, my beloved old Compaq computer, with all the embedded passwords and intuitive moves deeply-embrained, got busted while moving between hostels. For that short transit, I had casually slipped the laptop into my suitcase, not expecting it to fall on its face because of the weight imbalance. That little flip-flop broke its hard drive.
Mournfully I thought to solve the problem with a NEW LAPTOP!!!!! Not thinking about the fact that I was in a French/Arabic-speaking country! I hadn’t even examined the keyboard carefully before making my purchase and setting out upon The Sea of No Returns. The keyboard letters looked like English! Duh! Why was it writing in French? A helpful friend was finally able to reset the language to my own from within. Oh, but why are the keys in the wrong places? That had something to do with Querty versus Zerty, or some such; and isn’t fixable. At least, if I put my fingers where they usually are for typing, and then don’t look at the keyboard, they will, somehow, produce English. But, I keep trying to peek and often make a mess. Being now an enemy to the computer I had bought to continue blogging and emailing, things just deteriorated from there.
Plus, the world has changed in the years since I started traveling. There used to be lots of Internet Cafes! Not any more! Most have gone out of business, as hand-helds and iphones became everyone’s right-arm-extensions. Also, I’d forgotten my passwords …….. You know the drill…… Manana became my themesong.
Ironically, arriving in Africa began the most-interesting portion of this four-year, around-the-world journey, so far. So, I’ll try to summarize here what I’ve been doing over the last few months; and then spend the next posts on details and photographs. That lost chunk of time covered Morocco, Spain, Crete and Athens,Greece; plus Central East Africa. Nairobi, Kenya in the luxurious Wildebeeste Eco Camp; as well as a weeklong safari into the Ngorongoro Crater of Tanzania. I attended a wonderful Maasai Wedding and Elderhood ceremony, with my cousin, Ben Parks and Karen Gaia Pitts, and we were considered part of the family, as Ben had sent the groom through college. He and Karen have been active in many ways within that Maasai community located in the Emburbul Crater. So, it was a very rare opportunity for me to join them. We hadn’t seen each other since high school and he was expecting to meet up with the “flaming redhead” of his recollections. Ha! Not when we’re both pushing eighty!
Now, I’m using the hostel computer to write this posting and I haven’t been able to view the videos I took during that visit. Technology is not “my best suite” but I shall persist and, hopefully, I should have some spectacular footage to share soon.
At the moment, I’m in the Lost and Found Hostel in Stone Town, Zanzibar; which is still a part of Tanzania, even though it’s an island off the coast. Next week, I’ll move to the town of Paje, and a swanky beach resort called Savannah and Oceans and I should have a little more workspace. These days, beach life and fabulous, fresh seafood are my lot. We, Americans, have no choice upon entering Tanzania, but to purchase a year-long, multi-entry visa for the country…. for $100, instead of the usual 3 months for $50 that most countries sell…. so I can take my own sweet time about moving on.
However, there are a few Vibes that I’m finding it rather hard to take in this location. This capital city is full of cheeky touts, who follow you in the street trying to sell something. They all speak English and will strike up a “friendly conversation” which soon gets down to business about the product in their hand or the taxi ride or tour they are selling. The only solution is to turn your nose in the air and ignore them; but I hate to act that way, so I tend not to walk around town as much as I’d like. Having people with me doesn’t make any difference. We are just more attractive as potential buyers.
The other Vibe is one that it took awhile to identify. Something here was simply “OFF.” I think that it’s probably caused by Zanzibar’s long history of being the Center of the Slave Trade out of this part of Africa: the shipping port, to which all slave routes led. There’s a slavery museum that opened my eyes. Some of the churches here are credited with finally putting a stop to it after centuries of capturing, torturing and selling people; but there’s, obviously, a whole lot of misery in bitter tears shed upon this soil.
Maybe my usual happy-go-lucky attitude will return when I continue my journey? World Travel is full of stuff like that! Sometimes!