I’ve been traveling again.
I went to Vancouver, Seattle, Vegas, Oxford, London, Vienna, Bratislava, Ruzomberok, and many other places around Slovakia.
And so, I’ve been in reflective mode. I revisited some posts and realized I never posted from 2 years ago. So, here’s a journal of my traveling experience throughout California with a few friends.
One of the first things I noticed was how different the Californian accent was from the one in Kelowna, British Columbia. You could almost say that it was noticeably “fake.” That is to say, that it seemed privileged, people attempting to be affectionate when they should simply be polite.
It’s weird how happy it can make someone: this warmth. California was warm in February, which strikingly changed my mood. It’s as if I entered summer paradise in an instant.
I text my friend saying how warm it is. He replies that he is jealous. I don’t think that jealousy makes me happy. I simply notice that he is not there with me. It would have been a beautiful trip to have this close friend with me.
Would I be able to discover new things about my personality if I had such comfort with me? I don’t think I would. That is why this brief time with people I have not been within a long time should be well worth the money and time.
We are right on the edge of the cliff. We’re taking pictures from the car. There are too many scenic places to stop at all of them.
It is uncomfortable in the car. There’s not enough room. I hardly mind with the view outside. My mind is not here, in the car. It is out there.
The music we were listening to was contemporary electronic tunes. It added to the atmosphere.
As we were getting higher and higher it was becoming less dense. At the start of the mountain, there were a lot of houses covered by layers of wild trees.
“It’s as if we’re in a jungle,” I said in the car on our way to the top of the mountain. Everyone nodded. Shade, then sun. Shade, then sun.
And then we saw it: San Francisco in the distance. And the Golden Gate Bridge right there on the East Side of the cliff.
San Francisco was larger than I expected. 800,000 people live in this city, approximately. And it’s — noticeably — very clean.
It was a beautiful Sunday with clear blue skies, so we weren’t expecting there to be room for parking. So we first went to the lighthouse, which was located 30 minutes away from the Bridge.
The Pacific in the air, a blue sky above us, waves crashing below us, conversations all around us in awe of this beautiful day.
I don’t need to be noticed. Not here. I don’t need to be the center of any conversation. There is no need to be important. There is too much to observe, too many things to appreciate. Too many things to think about.
We walk for hours and hours across these long pathways on the edges of cliffs overlooking white waves crashing below us. With the lighthouse in the background.
And we went back to the Golden Bridge. It is probably the biggest bridge I have seen in my life.
The city was great. It was nowhere close to a depressing concrete jungle, it had a number of curvature streets, a China town, a place that reminded us of New Orleans with a mini-harbor, and it was warm.
The entire day was gorgeous. Our Hungarian friend only wants to eat burgers. So we eat burgers.
There is barely any talk if there is, it’s about the plans we have made — or want to make for that matter.
There’s some hip Jazz playing in the background. A couple of people going through papers and some slight conversations past the corridor, towards the bar, people ordering coffee perhaps.
I’m sitting alone at this cafe, for now, there’s a friend I’m supposed to meet up with again here. There’s only this short time I found for solitude.
When you travel, you discover new things about yourself. Or rather, where this is more noticeable is, if you do in other people’s company that which you would do in the comfort of your home city.
I took a sip of this dark roast. I see myself coming here more often if I’d live here.
My point is the only way you are going to notice your own behavior is if you are in the company of some people that do not do what you do.
Let me use this as an example.
Yesterday, as we settled down from our various different flights. Two friends coming from Hungary, one from Norway, and one staying here, in Berkeley. We bought some beers, burgers, coffee, sat down and chatted for a brief moment.
Someone suggested going to a fraternity party. I thought to myself, there is nothing appealing whatsoever about a frat.
One of them seems to be a popinjay, someone that is remarkably supercilious, as in someone that is distinctly proud. And he has a strong demeanor.
The first thing that I’ve realized about myself on this trip, it seems trivial, is that I am becoming truer to myself — my wants, & desires.
I have driven through the Rockies, in New Brunswick, from Slovakia to the Netherlands, from Slovakia to London — I have taken a lot of road-trips.
Despite all the wondrous scenery I’ve seen elsewhere: this is definitely one of them — if not the most — beautiful road-trips I’ve ever been a part of. I wish to do it again.
We’re blasting music in the car as we exit San Francisco. On the way, we visit Stanford University.
And on our way, we will stop in St. Barbara. There’s not much we are talking about in the car. We talk about songs we like and take pictures of the scenic surroundings.
We’re enjoying ourselves.
We take a couple of stops along the way to take pictures on the cliffs, overlooking blue seas and waves crashing along the pointy rocks.
Even as I look back at the memory, I only wish that the human experience would not be so finite and mortal.
Everything will end and it seems like these memories are so beautiful because of that exact reason.
I don’t want to sound existential for no reason. But it seems necessary. It seems necessary to be existential when it comes to beauty. Beauty awakens in us a sense of triviality & gratitude at the same time.
The memory of that fleeting feeling of overwhelming gratitude is where the despair kicks in. It’s not a sad feeling — it’s more of an unwillingness to acknowledge sadness because you know that it’s lurking. You have no desire to feel it, although you know you can because the moment is too remarkable.
I want to travel more for this reason. I want to feel the balance between despair and gratitude.
On the one hand, you feel thankful for the opportunity, yet if you do it too often, you just enjoy how unreal and depressingly soothing it is to the conscious man within you.
That is why we should write. That is why we should remember.
I am on the beach. There’s nothing that matters. That feeling — this moment — this is what is to die for.
That feeling, however, does not make sense if there is no responsibility in your life whatsoever. It is the fact that we become so overwhelmed in life that we look for these feelings of relief.
I remember it so well. These moments of complete satisfaction.
We looked out onto the waves that were crashing along the sand. “How beautiful is this,” I thought to myself.
Yet there seem to be problems. I don’t know what those problems are. They are present within me. I have to come back to them, for some reason. I cannot stay here. That would not be okay.
The food is good, the drinks are good, the friends are good. How much more should I ask for?
We were cruising around Beverly Hills while a friend of ours was getting a tattoo of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, alongside signatures of his parents, an admirable thing to do.
It was sad, driving through those hills. It was as if nothing mattered in the world, just that comfort. It was like everyone was competing with themselves. Maybe I am misinterpreting it, but it seemed this way.
We talked about it for a little bit as well. It is tough to say whether we all really agree with this sentiment. It seems all too likely, for it not to be true.
They must be competing with each other. I am the happiest I could be and I barely have anything, yet I still have more than enough for survival.
Once you receive too much, you lose touch of reality. How are you to truly identify with others?
Before you go…
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I write to keep you thinking and to keep me thankful and reflective. Cheers and until next time,