“One of the reasons why we crave love, and seek it so desperately, is that love is the only cure for loneliness, and shame, and sorrow. But some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again…”
I’m not lonely often. Really, I’m not, which is exactly what I told my parents when I finally called them yesterday. But tonight I have a room to myself for the first time in more than two months—a 10-bed dorm room that is eerily empty in Lisbon’s off-season.
Yesterday I said goodbye to a friend visiting me from Norway, and while at first I wasn’t completely sold on traveling with him vacation-style, I gave in to semi-luxury pretty quickly. And so we drank beers and walked beaches and explored palaces and managed to spend too much money, while reminiscing about when we met five years ago in Singapore—and how that semester abroad and my oblivious skipping out on a summer backpacking through Southeast Asia actually set the stage for my trip now.
But now I’m back to roughing it alone, five days from my next country, and I’m starting to worry that all of Portugal will be this empty. (And cold—what else do you do in Portugal besides go to the beach?)
So it’s Sunday night, the worst time to feel alone, because it’s really the only time when I know the six-hour time difference doesn’t matter, and I could and should and am itching to call certain people back home that I know I won’t.
And while I should be suppressing my loneliness (and enhancing my Portuguese experience) by going to a fado bar, I kind of just want to embrace it, curl up here and drink another free café con leche that reminds me of the Camino and keep listening to the “epic country” playlist from a friend that reminds me of home and read the book that reminds me of why I was so set on getting to India this year.
I guess for the moment I’m okay being stuck halfway between the past and the future (which is surprisingly far from the present)… even if it is unsurprisingly lonely.