Just joking. Don't
“One of those long days when the weather leaves much to be desired, Keith and I whiled the time away chatting. He shared with me his future travelling plans to sail from Mexico to Bermudas or the US, Azores all the way to Spain and from Europe to Brazil through Canary Islands and Cape Verde. It sounded like a hella adventure that I would definitely love to participate in. The scariest part for me was losing control over the situation. Sailing across Atlantic you entrust your destiny to a captain and chance. Everything depends on them and you don`t belong to yourself anymore.
Suddenly I remembered the night when I was steering the boat. That frightening starless night when I realized that the skill of losing control over a situation without losing your mind is a pretty useful one. I remember the feeling of being alone in the world: there were no people around for hundreds of miles. The ocean was total, both hell and heaven merged in its great water. And there was no way to escape, to say I have had enough, and fuck off. I closed my eyes and smiled, dissolving in the ocean, becoming a part of the storm. And this experience of losing myself was so enriching, so intense that all the doubts and plans were of no importance anymore. Needless to say, Keith got his crew. We will sail away toward Europe in May”.
Thought I, writing this touching piece for the Prowl`s second issue. In reality, we didn`t. Our plan worked out quite badly: my visa was denied, the boat wasn’t fixed on time and the sea adventure of the dream promised to end up in the ocean of my tears. During my travels I have failed so many times that I guess, the third Try This Road anniversary post has to be devoted to a breathtaking history of my calamities.
I also noticed that the majority tend to have the delusion that when people start travelling, they embark on the path of freedom, so every day routine immediately changes into an enchanting , never ending journey to the world of mirth.
Doesn’t it sound a bit like a bullshit for you, eh?
Disasters like PMS, unfortunate life decisions, people with bad breath and my own stupidity still befall me quite frequently. However, the Latin American vibe adds much more taste to my regular disasters.
How to be miserable living in paradise.
Some of you guys have already learnt how I came up with the brilliant idea to hitchhike across the ocean from Mexico to Colombia and what came out from it (in case you don`t, check out this). After the shipwreck (to be more accurate, the fail of the sail, but it doesn’t sound that grandiose), I find myself on the other island, that time in Honduras.
Now give me a second to explain my hostility towards tropical paradises. First of all, I highly disagree with the concept of paradise that consists of sandy beaches, azure ocean and goof balls shuffling their feet around in flip flops. Probably, the only thing I hate more than the beach is the jungle. Mangy dogs steal food from mangy locals, tourists sweat and pant from humidity, sand flies gnaw round legs and sprightly beach hits playing from the every corner eventually will make one`s ears bleed. Did I mention this particular type of beach people? The ones who like to chiiiiil under the sun drinking Corona and looking forward to the happy hour`s promo, 2 Margaritas for 50 pesos? The impression will get only worse if you are poor. Paradise doesn’t need the poor.
So by magic kick of the destiny I was thrown to a place like this. For some reason, everyone I befriended on the island happened to be retired, disappointed in life old folks from USA or Canada. While watching gigantic clumsy iguanas falling from the trees like rotten apples, I tried to figure why my life all of a sudden got gifted with a morbid smell of flake camphor. The world that exists on the verge of Mamleyev`s solipsism seasoned with psychedelic Goghen`s phantasies at once became mine.
One of these restless days I went for a jog. Jogging in a tropical island seems like a fine idea. At least, it seemed so to me. In a half an hour I came back with my leg bleeding. K., a captain of the boat, wearily looked at me and I smiled guiltily: “A monkey…. I saw a monkey. We took some selfies together, but then it didn`t want to leave me”.
Next few days after the accident, I floated in a shroud of psychedelic dreams that were caused by anti rabies shot and antibiotics. I felt sleepy, warm and useless like a glass of milk left on the sun. I even missed the moment when my bank card was stolen. I dreamt of shiny lizards that spoke to me from lianas. These colorful dreams were probably the most interesting thing that happened to me during several months of living in the paradise. As soon as I woke up, I immediately spilt a boiling hot water from a coffee-pot on my hand and leg. In the end, I reached this level of frustration and confusion that I gave up with the idea to become a perfect soldier of the sea so I borrowed some money for a plane ticket to Colombia.
How to start a fight with homeless junky robbers on the night street of Bogota, make them run away and get robbed the next day.
Colombia was fun. There I got intoxicated with life, not in the sense that I was sick all the time. On the contrary, days passed in the atmosphere of odd, but still abandoned hilarity. I met Jake with whom we interviewed Colombia`s wisest man, a garbage museum owner, saw UFO in Tatacoa desert, made cosmic disco parties, started a punk band and got almost kicked out of the house during our very first band rehearsal.
We drank a lot of wine and went to the salsa clubs to dance tribal boogies with maracas and bother security guards who didn`t know what to do with us. Then we used to walk back home, discussing highlights of the evening. Once when we were walking back home on Caracas avenue (which is a pretty dodgy area at nighttime), three shadows suddenly appeared from the darkness. The one tried to grip my bag, but that night I felt like an Amazonian woman: I started swinging the bag above my head furiously and screaming out curses in Russian and some non-existing language that sounded rougher than Russian. Meanwile Jake was kicking the air, growling and barking at the same time. We had so much fun performing this wild show that I even didn`t get scared. These dudes ran away and we were so impressed and proud of ourselves that the rest of our journey back home and the entire next day we only spoke of how we can clean up the streets of Bogota from criminal elements. We felt mighty, we were intouchable. It didn`t last long, though. In a couple of days we decided (who knows why) to climb a Monserate mountain late in the afternoon and there met a drugged crazy dude with a rusty kitchen knife who successfully freed us from our belongings. A kitchen knife. Everybody has a kitchen, everyone uses knives. I mean, why don`t I take utensils with me for a walk?
How to fuck up meeting with parents after a long separation.
The next promising life event was meeting with my parents in Barcelona. They gifted me a round trip tickets to Spain and back to Colombia for my 25th birthday to meet them in Barcelona where they were having vacations. That was one of a few occasions when I actually felt nervous. The plan was to deafen and dazzle my parents with a wisdom and knowledge that I have gained during my travels; to show how much I grew in my tolerance and how little was left of that terrible brat I used to be living in Moscow. In reality, one week with my parents only proved them right: nothing has changed. I still could stand up and leave the table in the middle of dinner when they tried to advise me how to live my life, I gave my poor father angry looks everytime when he turned on TV to see some Russian news in a hotel room; and my shoulder twitched nervously when mom tried to put some sunblock on it. I felt like I was 14 again: a rebellious, malicious kid who thinks that nobody in the entire world understands her. I guess my parents have this effect on me. I was really pissed at myself and to be honest, I`m still pissed for this misbehaviour with my old folks. Another year has passed, I see their faces covered with pixels on Skype and ask myself why it was so difficult to hug them everytime when I wanted to fight with them. Who knows when I will see them again.
How to settle down in a beautiful city and suffer the worst agonies.
This is my advice to all of you guys: never decide to settle down somewhere where you have never been beforehand. Probably, you won`t, cause it makes no sense, but I held a different opinion. So after a couple of months travelling in South America, I moved to Buenos Aires with a solid intention to stay there for a long time, to find a job, maybe to study, but most important, to calm down. From the very beginning I felt like it wasn`t my place: it was a beautiful town with beautiful people, all kind of parties and cultural events, but it lacked something that was essential for me. However, I decided to stay there anyways. Nine months of living in Buenos Aires was like… fucking your not very attractive neighbour just because he lives one floor down and you are too lazy to make an effort finding someone better to satisfy your basic needs. I did my utmost to be social, to develop myself, to work hard, to finish Joyce`s Ulyses (that I tried to get through 5 times) and to be good. Instead of it I suffered from heavy emotional breakdowns, turned into a hypochondriac and sometimes refused to leave my room for several days. I failed to finish Ulyses, I got into a couple unfortunate romances that had very dramatic (pathetic, miserable) ends and all of the time intended to start some funny projects that never turned into anything serious.
Luckily, Jake fished me out from those poisonous waters of my life with the suggestion to make a project in Mexico. MEXICO. ME-XI-CO. What a relief. Why didn`t I do it before? So easy. If you don`t feel good in the place you are now, just move to another one that makes you feel good.
That`s what I think after all these experiments: in the end, I believe that failures are actually good for you as long as they don`t fuck you up completely. They take you down a peg and help to find the comical inside the tragical. Every bad experience will eventually turn into a hilarious story. In addition, we never know why something comes across our path: if I reached Colombia on time as I planned, in the middle of January, I would never meet Jake and nothing of what we are doing now would be possible. The meeting with my parents showed me that there was still a hella work left in the process called ‘to become a better person’. I really doubt that I would ever learn Spanish if I didn`t stay in Buenos Aires for a long time.
The moral of this story is whatever happens, don`t be afraid. Because if you don`t become an ocean you will be seasick every day.
Fail, fail, fail. Fail more often, fail funnier.