GDL #1

Darren and I are chilling at a bomb Airbnb in Guadalajara. It’s a loft. Darren has the king bed upstairs and I have the little futon nook in the corner downstairs. Better for the back. ‘Bout to walk to this dope church where they sell tamales outside and across the street is a bar with a terrace where you can drink beer and look at the church. Sick. We also just booked flights for Mexico City. Going there on Sunday. Stay five days or a week or something and then I’ll probably fly to Bogota or maybe down to Santiago. We’re kinda looking for an ayahausca retreat….

What else can I tell you? Trying to hang out with —————————, ———————-. Like not very stoked to hang out, which makes me wonder why she’d even hang out in the first place. Who knows. Whatever. I was more stoked on the first plan to go to Morelia on Sunday and then take buses to small towns before Mex City, but flying is fine too. Would’ve also been dope to surf. But I still have grand aspirations to surf in Chile. Maybe buy a board and a 4/3. Maybe buy a car and drive the length of the country, surfing the whole way?????????

Anyway. Temps are pretty bomb. Probably in the 70’s right now. Darren has — which we might do in the next few days. How am I suddenly doing so many ————? Been doing yoga every day. Feel pretty good. I think not driving and not climbing is gonna be really good for my back.

Trying not to get down on myself lately for how I’m living my life. No reason not to be stoked. And honestly I’ve felt a little more positive about things ever since the ————– experience with Dan last week on Vancouver Island. There’s always something to be stoked on. And why wish for an easy life, anyway?

Teotihuacan

…Candor offers no assurance that one’s beliefs about the world are true. — Sam Harris

I’m confused as to why YouTube thinks I need to be confronted with a barrage of grammarly ads. I’m listening to the song the twist by metric, and it reminds me of the early 2010’s or late 2000’s or some time period like that, specifically of a trip to whistler in which we saw Metric perform and were also told by Canadian police to pour out a 24 pack of kokanee on the slopes of whistler.

“Sorry, guys, know it sucks to pour out a two four.”

Meanwhile.

I couldn’t get on the flight to Guadalajara this morning, and I’m not entirely sure why. It might just be that I wanted to sleep in more. I think it was also because I knew that the trip to Guadalajara was me falling into the familiar trip that things will be better if I just go somewhere else. Instead of improving my life here in seattle, or learning some kind of acceptance so I just appreciate my already kickass life, I think I need to go somewhere else. The grass is always greener, unless you live in Arizona, in which case the grass is yucca and scrub brush.

A few minutes ago I was doing pushups on the ground and screaming. I’ve discovered better form that makes them not hurt my shoulder and elbow as much. I simply position my hands lower down, closer to my belly button. I keep my elbows in. And after I’m done with a set, I let out a guttural scream.

It wasn’t just Guadalajara. I was going to go to Mexico City after that, and that I’m actually cool with. “I love Mexico City,” seems to be a popular sentiment these days, whereas 20 years ago no one would ever say that. But now most millenials can recount some kind of trip they went on to Mexico City where they went to the pyramids of Teotihuacan and ate “real tacos al pastor” and it was “life-changing.” This same trip inspired them to come back to Seattle, do precisely two months of Duolingo, and then give up.

Where did you go in Mexico City? La Condesa, Roma. We went to a lucha libre one night.

Matador, estocada, you’re my blood sport.

And so I’ve postponed the Mexico City trip for now. It is grey in Seattle. It was just raining. The days are getting longer and there is beauty to be found here. My succulents are still alive. I climbed yesterday and it was terrible but I sent a fun orange.

And now I’m going to go pee on a keto strip.

Loneliness

I have begun an inquiry into the subject of loneliness, as it’s something I struggle with. I love solitude; don’t get me wrong. But loneliness and solitude are very different things. For me, loneliness is the lack of connection, feeling alone when you don’t want to be alone, helplessly alone. It is possible to feel loneliness in a crowd of people,  but I don’t think it’s possible to feel solitude in a crowd of people. Maybe if you’re enlightened. Basically, loneliness is something that feels negative to me, whereas solitude feels positive. Solitude is chosen. This isn’t to say that nothing good can come from loneliness. One can learn from loneliness, and good company after a period of loneliness often feels that much sweeter.

Ever since graduating from undergrad I’ve often felt lonely. And in the last five years or so, loneliness has become the norm. Furthermore, I’ve noticed that I especially feel lonely in Seattle, which is unfortunate because this is where I’ve always expected to feel the least lonely. This is where I’m from. This is where I’ve always had friends. And yet increasingly it’s also the place where I feel the most lonely. I have several hypotheses as to why this is, and one of them is expectations. The fact that I don’t expect to be lonely here makes it that more gut wrenching when I am. Another hypothesis has been Seattle’s size. Surely I’d be less lonely in a small town, I fantasize. But does this hypothesis hold water? Probably not, since there have been plenty of times in the past when I’ve lived here and not been lonely at all. Another hypothesis is lack of shared values. I fantasize that all people in Seattle care about is career, money, social standing and accumulating things and experiences. Since I value these things less, I imagine this puts me at odds with the culture here and contributes to lack of community and loneliness. But is this really the case? It’s dangerous to assume this chasm in values between me and others, since I don’t know that many others. And one last hypothesis (there are others) is that one of the biggest contributors to my loneliness is simply not being around other people since I’m not in school or working a job that requires it. One of the first times I really felt lonely was the winter of 2009, when I was unemployed and not in school and living at my parents’ house. That was essentially the first extended period of time when I hadn’t been in school or working, and coincidentally it’s the first time I can remember having experienced real loneliness. Of course, I didn’t really know it at the time. I compensated with alcohol and partying and a number of other desperate activities. My soul was crying out for help, but I wasn’t sure why.

Then in 2012 I graduated from grad school, and since then loneliness has increasingly become the norm, to the point today where it’s weird for me to not feel lonely. It pains me to write that, but it’s true. The other day for example I hung out with two friends in Vancouver and we went sledding and had dinner together and I felt such a sense of belonging and community I was elated. And that used to happen every day for me. Every single day I would experience that feeling of belonging and community. But now it happens rarely, and when it does it’s like sitting in the sun after months of cloudiness to the point where you forgot what the sun was like. I had that feeling of belonging up until I got back to Seattle, and now the loneliness is back.

Hence this inquiry.

Loneliness and lack of community are things I discuss frequently with my therapist, so I guess you could say the inquiry started there. The seeds for the inquiry were planted way back in that winter of 2009, when I felt lonely but didn’t know what was happening. And today I decided that maybe I could take some steps into looking at this loneliness and looking for ways to, not eradicate it, but alleviate it and maybe modify my life so that there’s less loneliness and instead more community — and so that more of the time spent alone is spent in solitude and not in loneliness.

What are the first steps to take in this inquiry? Well, I imagine my therapist might agree in saying that the first step is not condemning myself for being lonely, to be compassionate with myself and also how I’ve reacted to this loneliness. Am I lame person for seeking to numb the pain of loneliness with things like alcohol and YouTube videos and Netflix series? Or is that a normal reaction? Am I weak or lame for not reacting to the loneliness in a healthy way? No, I am not lame. It is normal to want to numb this pain, and compassion for myself is a good, albeit extremely difficult, first step. Another good first step might be to get curious about the loneliness. What makes it worse? What makes it better? When do I feel it? How do I react when I feel it? This is a good first step because it doesn’t require solving the problem, it just requires an examination into the nature of it. I’m capable of this.

So that’s where I’m at right now. Maybe some of you have felt similarly in the past or feel similarly right now. Or maybe not, in which case that’s great. Anyway, that’s all I have to say about the inquiry right now. I’ll let you know how things progress.

 

 

First Days in Jersey

Why did I come to Jersey? This is a question I don’t find myself asking myself. I came to get away from my boat, to sleep in real beds, and to go to Europe. So far I have done the first two things. I’m no longer on my boat. I’m in a real bed. And on Monday I’ll go to Europe.

But first, how did I get to Jersey? Or actually first: What/where is Jersey?

Jersey is one of the Channel Islands. It’s part of the UK but self-governing. No one wears masks here except on public transportation and in hospitals. COVID doesn’t exist. Also Jersey is close to France. You can get here by ferry or fly. I flew from Heathrow after flying business class on American Airlines flight 156 from Seattle. It was one of the easiest flights to Europe I’ve ever had. I got on, got situated, ate dinner, watched Saving Private Ryan, slept, woke up, ate breakfast, and then we landed. And then I had a four hour layover in Heathrow.

The key to not wearing a mask at Heathrow is to always be drinking something. Or to always be on your phone. Or to just not wear a mask. While at Heathrow I bought a book called A Theater for Dreamers by Polly Samson. It’s perfect vacation lit. Based on an island in Greece with plenty of descriptions of goats and donkeys and wine drinking and sex. And people getting up at 4am and “only bringing a wine skin and a few pieces of bread” and shit like that which you only read about in books because in reality you gotta bring some water or you’re not doing much hiking.

My stomach is kinda fucked from too much sugar.

I’m gonna go swimming soon.

I’m staying in Jersey for three more nights. Tomorrow I need to change lodging. I can currently hear a seagull cawing outside my room. I just walked back from St Helier along the beach, about 5km. I might see if I can watch Spain vs Switzerland here in a second on TV even though I hate Spain. I love the country. But hate the soccer team. Bunch of whining diving non-men with ugly accents. That said, maybe I’ll go to Spain on this trip. Or maybe Porto. Or maybe Latvia or Lithuania. I’m not sure what I’m going to do. The only thing I have scheduled is an antigen test on Monday followed by a haircut. I’m thinking sort of a high and tight situation, but I’m open to suggestions. Should I get him to shave a notch in my eyebrow? Will that make me look like a gang member?

I don’t understand the people in Jersey when they talk to me. “Right, so you head down to high street, flip a right and keep going till you get to the big toe.”

I followed the man’s instructions, looking for a big toe which actually turned out to be a big toad. That said, people have been lovely here. There are lots of immigrants. Lots of Poles. Gotta love the Poles. I understand the Poles better than I do the locals. Also lots of Portuguese, which makes me wanna go to Portugal. But so far I’ve heard no one speaking French.

It was foggy this morning but now it’s sunny. Can I muster myself to go swimming? The water isn’t terrible. Probably warmer than Puget Sound. I just have to make sure I don’t take any naps this afternoon, because I already took a four hour nap this morning and woke up pretty confused. I headed bleary eyed into the town, and then took a bus to St Helier and went to Ried’s Pharmacy to ask about COVID tests. I wouldn’t need one if I was coming from the US, but since I’m coming from the UK I do need one. And it costs 50 pounds. But what’s the alternative? I’m in Jersey and it’s enchanting and I’m probably about to go swimming.

I either need to change shirts or change lodgings. The staff here is wonderful. I think it’s a mix of Poles and Italians. Cory just called the front desk looking for me and I felt so cool that someone was calling for me even though I assumed it had to do with my COVID test when I got here or something like that. I had the burger with hella ketchup and mayonnaise and aioli and my digestive system was fucked earlier and now I don’t wanna know what it’s gonna be like. Then I walked the town a bit and sat on the little sea wall for a little bit next to the yacht club. People are out tonight. The Old Court House is starting to shut down though. And I’ll probably read my book and go to bed. I can’t decide whether to stay here tomorrow or go to France. I’m pretty sure I’ll stay here. I mean I flit by  coming here but I’m not gonna do a bunch of mini flits now that I’m here because I know they don’t do the trick. But I have to change lodgings. And that way I won’t have to change my shirt. Plus England play tomorrow.

Bummed Italy won. I love Lukaku. Gonna read my book and go to bed. If I can’t sleep that is. Stanley Cup at 1am tonight but don’t think I’ll stay up that late. Full English breakfast tomorrow with fried tomato. Then move to the new lodging. Cheap one in town or nicer one in the middle of nowhere? Swim again tomorrow? Party