If I had to sum up 2018’s travel experiences in one word, I would use “Catharsis”.
At the bar in a dimly lit club in Old San Juan, tears started to stream down my face. Hurriedly I pressed my palms to closed eyes to stall them, the incongruity of the situation not lost on me. Why was I crying? 5 minutes ago, I had hi-5’ed the DJ for playing a song by Wizkid. I had been dancing carefree with the girls.
D turned in her seat to face me, perhaps to say something, noticed my tears and grabbed a tissue from the bar’s countertop. Handing it to me, she asked: “Are you okay, why are you crying?” “I’m okay, and I don’t know”, I said in response; half crying and laughing. I felt ridiculous. She didn’t seem convinced (and to be honest, neither did I) but I was not about to unpack my emotions in a nightclub, so I assured her and myself that I was fine and wiped my wet face dry.
At that moment, I couldn’t understand my tears, but now I do.
In the middle of the night, drowned out by the din of people talking, bodies moving, and music blaring, I was crying happy tears. I felt overwhelmed in Puerto Rico, New Orleans, The D.R, Napa, Mexico City… not just by love, but by companionship, and the depth of my experiences. Each place seemed to trigger its own version of catharsis.
Between the act of travel itself, -sitting on long flights, walking through crowded airports- and my experiences with people and without, I found myself expressing emotions in several different forms. Each time, the expressions felt necessary, like the need to exhale after holding a breath. It is in writing this that I took some time to reflect and realize that I cried almost as much as I laughed on my travels. Each laugh and tear bringing release, relief, and freedom from repressed emotions.
2018’s travel experiences reminded me that I’m never alone, and even when I fail to notice it, I’m always surrounded by love.
Thank you to everyone who was with me on the literal and figurative road. I hope that you always have the love you shared with me.
2018 took me to Key West, Mexico City, New Orleans, Cabarete, San Juan, Vientiane, Seoul, + more. I’ll be traveling to Southeast Asia this month for work and personal reasons, but besides that, I haven’t made any concrete plans.
Do you have travel plans set for 2019? I am interested to hear yours and maybe steal some ideas. Let me know in the comments.+ if you had to use one word to describe your 2018 what would it be and why?
thank you for reading!
Photos of me shot by my friend Mofi on iPhone.
Edited with VSCO Cam.
If you enjoyed this story, keep scrolling to read my stories from last year!
Same footprints, Different sands