Tuesday, October 13, 9:46 PM
JFK Airport, Queens, NY, USA
It’s one of those rare moments that all my music sounds terrific. My ears haven’t felt like this in months. You’d think I was the happiest guy on earth, that the joy in my ear drums might be a by-product of my mind’s state… could it be the anticipation of leaving on a jet plane in 2 hours bound again for Asia? I actually feel quite average, with a splitting headache, and I had to keep my eyes, stinging with fatigue, closed to curb my nausea the whole cab ride over here. I’m on deck for Round Two of my cycling trip through Wherever, leaving on a 24-hour China Airlines flight through Alaska, Taipei and Bangkok on my way to Laos, alone. Am I meeting anyone? No. Am I excited? Sort of. The answer should be Yes, right? But my head’s not yet at all focused on tomorrow.
I’m still in New York. I’ve been here for two months and four days. When I came back I felt like a new man – even my accent was international, (much better enunciated, my words deliberate.) I was awe-inspired at all this once-familiar stuff, the sights, food, and money. My desires were so subdued… I didn’t want anything, (except for pizza and bagels with cream cheese.) I didn’t want to spend my hard-earned savings on all these expensive niceties, I was still Free. I found myself to be extremely Patient, in no rush to get anywhere or be anywhere besides Here, wherever it was.
But I got back into it hard-core in no time, living it up, spending freely, talking fast, doing many things fast, scootering around, geeking and upgrading, iPhoning, texting, my head up in the Wi-Fi cloud, going-out 5 nights a weekend and partying till dawn … so much fun!
I knew I was a New Yorker again two weeks ago when I yelled at the guy in the subway booth, who wouldn’t let me in when my Metrocard wouldn’t admit me through any of the turnstiles, but showed a $21.75 balance on his machine. “I can’t do anything for you… You need to buy another card for now and mail that one into Customer Service.” But I won’t be around to receive that replacement card, Argh! I finally lost my hard-earned patience. Now the MTA and I had ruffled each others feathers, the buses were leaving me in their wake of “clean air” exhaust (but I chased them down anyway, cowboy), the bank froze my ATM card when I tried to notify them of my upcoming travel plans and I answered their first security question wrong… actually any call to Customer Service suddenly became too much to handle. (Thanks, Jordan, for making all those calls to the Embassies for me!) I felt it like a slap in the face: I’ve been here long enough.
In the last two months, I’ve loved New York more than ever before, and New York’s been loving me right back. I think I really beat the system… because I was just visiting instead of living here, not entrenched enough to settle-into that vicious relationship of Love and Hate. Instead of working half the week and hanging with friends for the other half like any normal Socialite, I rocked out Every Day and Every Night. I saw my family half a dozen times. I went to half a hundred parties, with everybody in my freaking phone book. I chilled with Axl Rose, Ezmrelda, my awesome housemates, Jordan, and a really good new friend, Telah, constantly. I worked, just enough, to replenish the funds I’ve spent to be here again, and to visit with my boss who I actually missed too. I ate so much great veg. and vegan food (except for some cheese here and there), that I must be 80% vegan now… so easy and enjoyable with all the great food options and fellowship here. I got used to being home again, and it was Superb. It all seemed too good to be true, but I realize it wasn’t real life… it’s traveling.
Traveling in New York for me was extra special because I already know people, and we’ve got Love. As the beneficiary of bottomless hospitality and extra bonus time from everyone… and “sleepovers” every night (my favorite!)… we had way more fun than we could manage if I was a resident. We made the most of our time together, took full advantage of my free schedule, made up for lost time, and soaked-it up for the year to come! To everyone who made all this time for me, I thank you so much and please know I appreciate it!
Now I’m 13 hours into my double-decker plane ride, surrounded by the Chinese jet-set. I noticed myself in the bathroom mirror, wearing in the same exact outfit I’ve been wearing for 11 months plus new dreadlocks, and a surge of excitement came over me. Over the last two months, everyone always wanted to know, What are my plans next? All “alone” in the john I came to my senses and remembered again… I don’t have any plans! I’m right Here, right Now. Listening to the new tunes on my iPod, reading a little of Even Cowboys Get the Blues and thumbing through SE Asia on a Shoestring, snoozing, waking for a cup of tea… this is my life, again! Frivolous as it might seem, I earned it, and I’m happy. Home again, on the road, with nothing but Adventure in front of me.