#7 — Colombia at last

a tiny cafe down the street.

I’m finally in Colombia.

I never thought I would say that.

I never thought I would get this far.

I never thought I could do I. I didn’t think it was in me.

Part of me hoped. Part of me wished. Part of me knew that we often don’t know our own abilities and the only way to discover them is to push forward and onward until the moment of testing comes.

Many moments of testing have come and many more are yet to come (or I’ll eat my hat, as Ricky Ricardo would say).

Right now, I just sit in a tiny cafe down the street from my Airbnb in the city of Cartagena, Colombia hoping I can work up the concentration needed to actually do some work on my laptop while everyone eats lunch around me.

untethered. lost connection. desperate.

I walked into this place by accident while on my way to a main street where I could find a taxi.

I needed a place with wifi, good tables, sockets for charging my laptop, and coffee. It is a tall task finding such a place in most of Central America and it appears the same could be said about Colombia (so far).

Sure, there are plenty of beautiful coffee shops and cafes in this city but most are not suitable for working. Either as a product of them being fancy and not allowing that sort of thing (a gringo using a table with his laptop and long charging cord stretching off to the wall), or the lack of the required ingredients (tables, sockets, wifi, coffee).

I walked by this place, stopped, turned around, and went in hoping for the best.

Sure enough, a little, beautiful, well-kept cafe awaited me. There is an electrical socket at every table, the wifi is good, and I met the owner within a few minutes due to his desire to talk some English and share stories about his time living in Los Angeles.

After a brief conversation, my entire day changed. I suddenly had a human connection I had not had 5-minutes before.

In that moment I realized something: I am untethered. I have lost my connection to the world. I am desperate, hungry, starving for connection with the world around me.

a date gone so right turned wrong.

I went on a date in Panama. I had an amazing time but soon found myself caught up too strongly in what was only a single date with a woman I do not even know.

I had found a unique, deep connection with a stranger, a beautiful one at that, and suddenly my entire being became aware of how desperately in need of that connection I was.

The date had gone wonderfully. My desperate need for that connection quickly turned it all sour. Putrid. Untenable.

In this moment of talking with the owner of this cafe, sharing some stories, making a new friend, my dark, cloudy mood changed to contentedness and a hopeful outlook on a previously dreary day of aloneness and burning time.

In that moment, I realized I am starving. I am desperate for connection to the world around me. I am not a bad person, I am merely incomplete.

I am not broken, I am merely missing an essential piece; human connection.

what do you do when you are alone?

I spend my life alone.

Few and scattered friends with whom I only share occasional connections. A family I often only see in passing on my various travels and movements. Lovers that quickly turn to memories as I move onward, backward, sideways, anywhere but stationary.

Now, I am on a motorcycle traveling some 20,000km from a world I know, through dozens I don’t, to a goal I only can imagine.

Alone.

I meet many amazing people along the way. I have even made some friends.

But what do I do to solve the problem of feeling disconnected from the world to the point of having a lurking desperate hunger for connection when it presents itself?

How do you connect with a world that changes every day?

How do you stabilize and ground yourself when you need to uproot and move every day?

How do you heal the wounds of so long spent starving for a basic human need?

another day, another dollar, another chance to see if I can.

My only answer, my only ever-present answer which I have found myself repeating many times over the last two years is to keep living.

Keep moving forward.

One more step.

One more day to learn one more thing about yourself.

One more day to grow a little stronger.

One more day to let life happen to you and therein learn.

One more step, one more difficult day, one more realization that you aren’t a bad person, you’re only a human with all its flaws, lackings, holes, needs, limits, hurts, joys, pains, smiles, and days of unknowns waiting around the bend.

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