In lieu of the awesome post about the nightlife in Raleigh, which is still in progress for financial reasons, I was thinking today that I’d write about something I already have on hand-my travel journals.
Travel journals are a finicky business. In hostels or long bus rides, you almost always run into a (usually female) traveler scratching away frantically at a battered book, sitting out the conversation for a moment in order to better remember others. Or someone pulls out their notebook for you to write your email address in, and you catch little notes like “Manuel Antonio: Whale watching. Riptides!” or “Buy underwear!”
On the other hand, when you’re the person scribbling or forcing people at penpoint to give you their personal information, a lot of the time a journal discussion beings. Some people say that they try to keep up with writing daily and always forget, or that they feel that taking down an account of an experience cheapens the real thing. Some make it a ritual to write each morning or afternoon, no matter what. Others still have traveled hundreds of miles to party, not to fucking read or write, and neither you nor God can make them, okay?
Where do I fall on this spectrum? Somewhere in the sloppy middle.
My first ever excuse to buy a beautiful travel journal was when was I was 20, right before I went to Europe. It was my first time out of the country and while doing some shopping beforehand, I somehow ended up at a Barnes and Noble. Have y’all seen their leather journals? All I can think about is Bilbo Baggins sitting around, writing There And Back Again in one of those things. I mean, that’s totally whathe wrote that in. Definitely. In everyone’s imagination except Peter Jackson’s, apparently. Anyway, so, I bought one. Because I had to.
Then, brilliance struck. Less than a week into the trip, I found myself in Puerto Viejo, which is a super chill Caribbean town in southern Costa Rica. At the hostel I was staying at, I met pair of Frenchmen who were working as a favor to the owner. At least, I think that’s what they told me. The cuter and less spiteful one, Elwon, had purchased a piece of land outside the town and built a jungle house with his own French hands. He told me he could watch the toucans from his outhouse. Charming, right?
So, on the day that I accidentally put salt in my coffee instead of sugar, ended up giving up on life, and having a beer instead-all at about 9 am-Elwon found me trying desperately to come up with a decent explanation to my journal for my bad behavior. (“I am the worst at keeping a journal. I hate it. Last night I drank rum, bad rum.”)
Despondent, I gave him the pen, and this is what I got: