Saturday, February 28, 2009

Avoiding safe & unoriginal, ...or something else

"I'm looking for something different"

This seemed to be the central thought of his trip. Escaping from the humdrum and perhaps confusion of a life without goals, he decided to play roulette and choose a travel destination for a one-week trip to clear his thoughts.

Portugal was the winner, planned on the spur of the moment, as trips to Portugal often seem to be. He enjoyed his first two days alone, until a French couple looked at him incredulously and remarked, "You're traveling alone?! No boyfriend, no girlfriend? Too bad!" Only then did he start to feel lonely.

Until he was walking along, recently off the train and consulting his thin paper map of Tomar, and a young woman waved and shouted from afar, "Hi! Do you speak English?" Her big smile took him off guard and he said, "Yes..." She turned out to bethe third woman he'd met while traveling who was working on her thesis. "Why do I meet all these intelligent women while traveling?" he asked her, with a touch of frustration and a smattering of irony.

"Because intelligent women tend to travel more, I think," she replied, somewhat coyly.

They spent the day walking and having good conversation, as he explained his current life dilemma. "I've worked for so manyyears, but still don't know what I want to do!" All he knows is he does not want to follow the monkeys. If everyone is going to see a monument or landmark, he does not want to follow them there.

His travel partner's only and best advice for the day was this: "Just because the monkeys are going somewhere doesn't mean that you should not."

Maybe a life lived avoiding the beaten path just for the sake of avoiding is just another way of not having to make your own decisions.

After finally achieving the goal of gifting her with a fresh delicious orange, partaking in new and delicious pastries, and carrying home one for the road, he hugged her at the train station. "Thank you so much," he murmured. He watched her run to her train, wondering what would have happened if his coin had landed with the other side up.

by Nikki

No comments: