“Soy el mismo ciego.”
– Qué Gano Olvidándote, Reik ft la Z y la L
I was alone on a ship sailing through the Nærøyfjord near Gudvangen in the summer of 2014, when it suddenly struck me that beautifully serene moments such as this must necessarily be shared — with someone, anyone.
Separations are hard to swallow, and I’ve had many of these — one couldn’t possibly live in eight countries across four continents in the span of two decades and a half without embracing this unfortunate aspect of nomadic life. But some are particularly harder to stomach than others for various reasons — either some form of paternal or filial loyalty had been expected and unfulfilled or much else had been invested, to complete and utter waste. If blood-bound relations can be broken, those held together by flimsy words and transient sentiments hardly stand a chance.
But what makes some companions(hip) more desirable than others? Despite my earlier inclination towards having a companion to sail through the Norwegian fjords with, I must confess that I do at times find the company of some people absolutely invasive and burdensome. Chemistry between two people — especially between two travelers journeying together — is a fickle thing — hard to capture, even harder to keep bubbling.
When I took this photo above on that ship, I was still new to the whole #viajosola phenomenon, and embraced it as I had reggaetón and Russian literature some years later — with great enthusiasm, and as something I truly enjoyed and valued for the enriching experiences it has given me. I return home — that is to say, my attic room here in Cambridge — changed after every solo expedition, which was also apparent to those close to me. I thrived and felt more alive than ever.
And I still do. I’d long made up my mind that whatever my future brings, my freedom to roam this Earth must never be compromised — and this, I will fight to the death. That summer I uttered a wish the seagulls carried away deep into the snow-capped mountains surrounding the fjords: that my wings would keep soaring, with or without a companion by my side. Perhaps this was more a promise than a wish, but the only difference between the two is how much of one’s own agency one is prepared to invest into such words.