How to forget a heartbreak

My friend Shawn lives in Budapest.

He has lived there for the past two years, ever since he met his Hungarian girlfriend, Dóra, in Laos. The two traveled together for a bit, fell in love, and he jumped. He took a risk; she took a bigger one; and now I have a reason to visit Europe.

Which, conveniently, is exactly what I was looking for, Christmas 2017.

**

In early November, when C left Chefchaouen after three days stay at the hostel I was working at, I intentionally did not get her contact information.

We had passed a wonderful time together. We had spent hours talking at the desk while I worked; we had kissed; we had just brushed the surface of each other. I begged her to stay another night, so we could spend one night together, fully. I managed to make her miss one bus, but not two. She left. I didn’t walk her to the door.

c banner

All I was left with: two pictures she had taken on my sister’s phone. Her, in one of Chefchaouen’s endless blue alleys, sticking out her tongue, which had been painted blue by some chemical-filled candy. She had been obsessed with finding those candies, she said, ever since she saw some kids with blue tongues on her way in. Cute pictures. They were all I had.

Better to leave it, in memory, I had thought. Just a shining three days. I took no contact info. I asked for no Facebook, and I let her walk out the door.  I had the sense, even then, that I could become obsessed.

She tracked me down.

Slowly, we started to exchange messages.

“I just wish I didn’t have all this rage in me,” over her last relationship, she wrote. A long-distance, international romance, it had taken place all over the world — but never at home. The hurt was still raw and oozing, I could tell.

“I don’t know why I am telling you all this,” she said, via Instagram DM

“Because we had a connection,” I responded.

“We did, didn’t we?”

***

I am careful with the messages. I use a light touch.

It is a cautious dance; one that plays out over the course of weeks.

“Men are stupid,” someone at the hostel says. “Why don’t you just tell the truth? Let her know how you feel.”

No, no, I say. Not with this one.

***

I tell her I am considering going to Budapest for Christmas.

If you go, I’ll come visit you! She says.

I book the tickets the next day.

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How I Became an Incorrigible Flirt

Our brother/sister trip around Africa ground to a halt at its second stop, in Chefchaouen, Morocco.

Chefchaouen is a sleepy little pueblo in the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco. The entire medina is painted different shades of blue, creating a surreal effect when wandering the streets. Tourism has exploded here in recent years; “even five years ago, Chefchaouen was nothing,” my local friends said.

Chefchaouen is famous for three things, they’d continue:

  1. The water, which comes straight down from the nearby mountains, and is some of the purest drinking water in all of Morocco;
  2. The hashish, which is grown in the nearby mountains and offered to you everywhere;
  3. And ‘the relax.’

Sounds pretty good, right?

Yeah, sounded pretty good to me, too.

“I have to come here at least once a year,” said Waheeb, a Moroccan climber I meet in Chaouen. Waheeb’s a character: he claims to have crossed Africa on foot, from Somalia to Senegal. And I have no reason to doubt his claim.

“Even if I am somewhere else in the world, I will return to Morocco — just to visit Chaouen. My soul just doesn’t feel right if I don’t visit this place enough,” he told me one night, sitting out in the crisp mountain air, staring at the stars.

I could see where he was coming from.

Chefchaouen felt like a bath for my weary soul.

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Spending a Season as a Ski Bum

Those of you new to this blog (a.k.a. almost all of you) may not know that I started this project while I was living in a ski town for a year. That’s why you’ll see chairlifts in the header. I never ended up writing much about my experiences as a ski bum, after I discovered my passion for travel, but I still have friends chasing that lifestyle. Here’s my friend Jazzmin’s take on her attempt to live an interesting life in a ski town. She found, as I did, that it’s more about the people than about the place.

You can find Jazzmin on Instagram

Read on for her thoughts:

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