Surrounded by a thickening haze engulfing the tropical greenery, my absorption in the dark, swollen clouds and looming showers is distracted by the women in leafy-patterned sarongs. Observing their gentle maneuvering over the narrow stone bridges I scan the breakfast trays, each conveying two freshly squeezed glasses of juice and two plates of food.
It occurs to me, that I will immediately know which delivery is mine, and it isn’t because of the bright pink beverage and bowl of fruit I’ve requested. The single most identifiable feature of my order — the settings are prepared for a table for one. Before anyone puts on a sad face, don’t worry; this is by choice.
Traveling this way gives one a tremendous amount of headspace in which to ping around such persistent inquiries as to why I’ve chosen the singular path. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
It’s kind of like adopting a new puppy. The exhilaration of taking the initial decision generates a euphoric buzz as daydreams of frolicking through the park, long hikes in the woods and latte-runs to Java Pup, pander through your mind. Excitedly, you create a list of mental boundaries: Rule Number One: No sleeping in my bed. This leads to Exception Number One: Okay — but just this once.
Then there's the anticipation of the trip to Furburbia. Playing with ears of each potential pup, patting their fluffy heads, holding their soft, scrunchy faces, cuddling their fuzzy little bodies — does he whimper when you walk away, the allure is overwhelming — soft fur, wet nose and happy wagging tail! It's all too much! The tug on your heartstrings releases a fervor you can’t resist and finally you buckle under the pressure of the little puppy panting.
Bringing him home and opening the door you know, life will never be the same. After giving your new playmate a sniff around, it appears this new arrangement may just be acceptable. A few more tentative steps into your life and what does he do? He pittles on the carpet. Then the realization sets in; this is going to take some work. No, I’m not saying the men in my life have urinated on my rug; it’s a metaphor, keep up. What I am saying is that good relationships, puppies or men, are a commitment and commitments require effort. I’ve instead used this time to work on myself.
In a very real sense, my reasons for traveling this way are analogous for my lifestyle. Setting the routes and determining the random rights and random lefts are a measure of self-reliance — pushing the limits of resourcefulness, personal capabilities and tolerance, tapping a river of inner strength hovering dormant beneath the surface. The rewards flow generously; a truly sustainable high.
But the question could certainly be asked; do I miss the look in a man’s eyes as he holds me and tells me he loves me?
Only when it rains.
~ by Christine Fowle