Last April, I rented an apartment for two months in Casablanca, Morocco. I do this occasionally during my world travels in order to be able to unpack my suitcases for awhile, as well as to cook meals in my own kitchen. But, there’s a downside. Loneliness! Here I was, in a modern apartment complex, but I didn’t know a soul and couldn’t speak the French or Arabic of my neighbors. Here’s a journal entry that I wrote on April 5, 2017.
“And now, this gorgeous morning, and the subject at hand in my journaling underlies the existential question awaiting everybody, every day: “How does one even get out the door, if there is nothing to go outside for?” In other words, “Without a meaning to life, how can one live?”
The weather looks beautiful outside of my kitchen window. But, if I go out, there’s no purpose in it. The street is ugly and full of construction work and no destination or errands call me anywhere. And, when they do, I taxi through more shambles and impersonal modernity; get my job done, and come home. Or, when taken out to supposed beauty and nice food, it’s all empty if I can’t speak meaningfully to anybody. And the food usually isn’t all that tasty or unique, and is way too much to finish. So I’ve simply endured an afternoon that I hadn’t chosen in the first place, with people I can’t talk to.
This is the way that depressed people act: “Why bother?” And, someone else might try to jolly them out of it….even if their nationality, their age, or their physical state sets them apart from the others.
But, “Meaningfulness” is the only cure and that must come from within.
This world-encompassing trip of mine both provides and consumes (uses up) my own Meaning: Adventure! Exploration! The Unknown! New experiences! When that drains away, I know that I must move on; and there’s no guarantee that the tank will refill at the next spot.
But, I keep hoping!”
Today’s comment: Luckily, that sort of isolation has been rare on this trip. I attribute that to the fact that I stay in hostels all over the world; rather than hotels or short-term rentals. Those are lonely! Hostels are not! It doesn’t matter that I’m much older than the usual backpacker because we all have the basics in common. We are the modern-day EXPLORERS; every bit as gung-ho and feisty as the ancient ship captains were, from whom we are all, undoubtedly, descended. I happen to know my genealogy very well and the sea is an important part of my history.
It’s certainly true that my ancestors got antsy if they had to stay in port too long.
Whatcha’ gonna do?