So, how did I end up in that hotel room in Hong Kong?
[This is a chapter from my travel book. There are lots more chapters posted on the blog, but if you’d prefer to read them all at once, sign up for my e-mail newsletter and I’ll be sure to let you know when they’re available in a condensed form!]
That’s a long story in and of itself, and you’re probably here to learn about Nepal anyways, not my relationship drama. Don’t worry, we’ll get there soon enough. But the two topics are inextricably linked. I can’t talk about Nepal without talking about Holly, and I can’t talk about Holly without talking about our past.
The short version is: after five months of travel through six countries, both my girlfriend and I were burnt out on travel. We were also pretty tired of each other’s company, after five contentious months on the road. Things can reach that point – no matter how much you love someone – when you literally spend every waking second together. In Taipei, Taiwan, the decision was made: she was going home. She bought a ticket then and there, but I hesitated.
Why had I hesitated?
Well, I had plenty of time I could have used to ponder that complicated question as I waited, destroyed and alone, in the lobby of the Hong Kong International Airport. I didn’t though. I knew this much: I was going on to Nepal. In Nepal, trekking in the high mountains, I would have time to think. There, I thought, I would be removed. Enlightenment would find me there, not here, in the Hong Kong International Airport.
So I didn’t think about what just happened.
I didn’t analyze how and why I ended up in that hotel room, and I didn’t ask how it was that a SIM could run out of data at precisely the moment I needed it most. I chalked it up to Fate with a capital F, and I let it sit. I didn’t obsess.
Instead, I sat there and tried my hardest to think about nothing. You know that utterly aimless, slack-jawed stare you see on mental patients in old Hollywood movies? That was my spirit animal. I sprawled across three of those uncomfortable airport chairs, and put my mind into shock. I reached a meditative state I probably won’t ever accomplish again in my life — just pure refusal, rejection and disbelief. My mind shut off, and I didn’t consider much of anything.
That said, I probably just looked heartbroken.
The Chinese love American pop culture, and a relationship ending in dramatic fashion in the lobby of an airport is about as cliche as it comes, in Hollywood movies. A place of transition, the high-stakes of a departing plane: the airport tees up the heights of human drama. But as fun as it may be to watch, you don’t want to fall from those heights yourself.
It really sucks.
9 thoughts on “Nepal 2: HKG”
I’m really enjoying this series! Can’t wait to read the next few posts 🙂
Funny what you said about airports. When I traveled between home and college, I found airports to be a great place for reflection and journaling. However, they can also be the worst. Especially when I’ve had to sleep hugging my luggage, praying that I’d somehow survive until my flight the next morning… Then you wonder how a place that can take you around the world (literally) can also make you feel so trapped and alone.
Chapter navigation, what an interesting idea.
You are a gifted writer. Love this.
Thank you very much!
I wouldn’t be put off by her comment if it’s really a vocation I wanted very much to pursue. Dying chasing after a goal is better than not doing anything about it at all and regretting later on. Law school is just the beginning. The real career determinant comes into play during the stressful internship and taking the bar exam. I know people who completed law school and yet failed bar exam three times. The trap comes in the form of debt. President Obama only paid off his student loan at age 42 years old. You might want to consider getting your law degree somewhere equally as good but more affordable than the US.
I’m not that passionate about law, it was just an amusing anecdote about being emotional 😉
I’m more than satisfied with the life I live now, which allows me to live these sorts of amazing stories.
It has nothing to do with you nor her. Just that the timing sucks. You are not ready for commitment. You might think differently after travelling the world by the time you hit thirties or forties. The best thing about being a man is that you are not limited by age when it comes to starting a family. A woman on the other hand is constantly pressured by her biological clock. For a woman, the best time to have a child is between ages 21 to 35. So, you need to accept the consequences of not being together with the woman you really want to be with despite that she possesses all the finer qualities you look for in a potential life partner. It’s life! I am just taken by surprise that a man can actually feel such emotional intensity after a breakup.
Another woman I was with once told me: “You can’t go to law school, you seem a little too sensitive.”
I was a little offended at the time, but she may have had a point 😉
Thanks for reading.