A backpacker’s dilemma
In my overweight backpack there is a collection of papers full of ink stains, sand and words written with pencils stolen from different places I go. But “steal” is not the right verb, but a metaphor for what this action means to me. I take them not only because I want something to remember me of a place or a person, but because later I can describe what I’ve seen writing with that one pen. This object comprises the memories I have about a community and the surprising people I meet everywhere around this world.
Today is Saturday. I’m sitting in front of the Atlantic Ocean, with six people and a big amount of backpacks laying around me. Looking up, I see two airplanes crossing the sky from opposite directions and the clouds coming from a surreal world, looking exactly like an assembly of candy floss. And I feel like I don’t want to go back home. I stare at people for a while, just to be sure I will remember their faces and the way they move. After more than twelve hugs, I see myself impregnated with the scent of all the persons I hugged, because my sunflower dress kept all their fragrances.
Today is about soul dilemmas and following your dreams even if sometimes you feel tired of doing it and you want to stay only in one place. Today is about having friends all over the world. Today is about people you will never see again, because you know they will disappear completely. Today is about emotions you can’t control when you stay in front of a person you humanly love after five days. Today is about watching the four beds from what it used to be your room for a week and then close the door. Not before waving hands and saying goodbye to your own reflection in front of the mirror.
A backpacker’s life is supposed to be like a land flowing with milk and honey. But behind all the great stories and meetings you have, there will always be a question to think about. Or more than one. How many times have you been ready to leave everything behind and start all over again? Wouldn’t you like to stay at least for a few months? Wouldn’t you like to spend more time with these people?
I stop thinking about this temporarily, so I raise my head and I observe. Two people from my group are watching the ocean, one is walking on the beach, one standing in a yogi position and getting a tan, another one is staying barefoot in front of the sea while I am writing in my notebook. I realize that all of us have different ways of making the process easier and getting over it. All because the first hours after you leave a place are the worst and you can’t stop thinking about what you leave behind and what you lose.
But then something you knew from the beginning comes back to your mind. You don’t lose anything. This is the life you chose, these are the things you have to deal with when you don’t have a stable place and your friends are not living in the same place you live. Actually now you have friends all around the globe and your home is finally where your heart is.
Don’t run from the waves that are coming after you, I whisper to myself, dig for seashells in the sand, let your boots rest between microscopic pieces of wood, stones and footmarks left in the sand, become aware of your feelings and then stand up, take your backpack and leave. New stories and fascinating people are waiting for you at every corner of every street of every country you visit in this world. Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. If you want something new in your life, open the door and see what’s outside. You should go now.
Written by: Smaranda Rutzui
Photos © Smaranda Rutzui