hello stranger: once unwritten stories
If you are not ready for a mature compilation of written accounts and still believe that swimming in public pools can get you impregnated, do yourself a favor and leave this page now. If you are not 18 years of age yet, PM me and I will direct you to a blog suited for a third grade student. If you are my Mom and Dad, guys we already talked about this. I love you, but do not force me to unfriend you on Facebook.
If I go poetic on this one, I swear I will be speaking in an overdosed 50 shades of gray language. So I will be collating these beautiful narratives in a jaded tone like a sober Robert Downey Jr.
Is romance a part to travel? I always get this question from people I know, and my answer is always a resounding YES! Romance, drunk mistakes, love and all imaginable brief encounters are as prevalent as the screaming presence of confused teenagers in high-school volleyball teams.
Traveling is a form of escapism. One can be a renaissance man, a Carrie Bradshaw, a sporty buff who sweats protein shake or a Salvador Dali on crack. Travelers can mess themselves up and be that one crazy girl in the pub who goes home with a missing bra. Every traveler can put a cathartic facade that we can never put on back home. So it is imperative to say that there are and will be people who are “cruising” when they are on the road. What do you think mixed dorm rooms are for?
So if you are not cool about it, and hyperventilate by the mere thought of a stranger hitting on you, then go get yourself locked-up in your private hostel room and enjoy the telephone shower. Else, put your game face on and enjoy the party!
There are phases of this culture, needless to say, It is a process.
Phase 1: Psyching-up
Are you ready for it? To some, the answer may be an idiopathic NO. No one will be unless you fully open yourself and accept the fact that the trip will be bumpy, dizzying, gyrating, flipping and all you have to do is buckle-up and hope for the best. After all, the best trips and adventures are those that are spontaneous, inspired and drawn from a profound emotion. So suck it all up, grab life by the crack and lick the jam out of it!
“I have been a believer of a self-devised aphorism – Solitude is Not Tantamount to Loneliness – and yet it sometimes smacks me in the face with such a forceful blow that leaves me completely vulnerable… Read more“
Phase 2: Sharpening hooks
The recipe for a successful hook-up does not revolve solely on tasty lip balms and right choice of clothes that will hang and bulge on the right places at the right time (though these help sometimes). The secret relies on how you carry yourself, how you exude mystery when your mouth is shut and channel your inner Woody Allen when you start talking.
Witty lines can attract an early trip back to the room, cheesy lines can induce vomit thrown out of lactose intolerance and stupid lines can draw a palm mark on your face! So if you cannot pull a good one, just shut it and pretend you are deaf and mute.
“You can just take a swing at it by having open arms (“open legs” is purely optional) to the universe. Allow yourself to linger and take in the surroundings for an extra 5 minutes. Do not be afraid to say something and reach out to another human being… Read more“
Phase 3: Validating
It is important to meticulously check the fish that you pulled out of the water: The eyes should not be too red, the gills must look fresh and sniff like a trained truffle hog to make sure you are bagging the right species. Sometimes, the best fishes in the sea are those that are of a “different” league. Trust me, there are more leagues out there than the colors of the rainbow.
“Sometimes, when he talked about his travels in his low-cut cargo shorts and sleeveless shirts, she just wanted to jump his bones right then and there. And it was evident that he wanted the same, especially when he would look at her with that intense look, blazing eyes, boyish charm and licking of lips… Read more“
Phase 4: Rationalizing (Optional)
An intelligent and well planned escape is always a good strategy to ease out of tangled strings after a potential hoo-hah. If playing with words is not your game and you are not confident delivering the Sam Milby line “I—Never—said—that I love you” make sure to get inebriated and blame it on the booze. Or at least fake it.
“My heart is pounding. I can feel that electricity starting to build between us. Knowing that he wants me makes me feel like a goddess. Proper thoughts and reasoning are now clouded by alcohol and desire… Read more“
Phase 5: The Big move
This is it. It boils down to this moment of confabulation, your heart pounding your chest at 100 kph and a crucial moment to either bail-out of the game or attack it like a hungry sailor. Either way, it will and should always be a mature decision.
“… and Cinderella came without her carriage or pumpkin, nor her footmen or mice. Neither were her glass slippers but a teeny weeny blouse, a short skirt and slippers. A knock. A knock. Muted conversations. Whispers and the sound of a door locked… Read more “
Phase 6: The Big bang
“Once back in the dorm, they sat on opposite bunks. The rest of the room drowned in alcohol, obliviousl to the looming attempt in the air to stall what was supposedly fleeting, transient. Eventually, the night pulled them closer... Read More“
Preluded with a crescendo of rhythmic beats…
A moment when dream and spiritual twilight both meet and end…
Faster and faster until you lose grasp of the conscious world…
That moment when the universe spins around your head…
When people ask a traveler why we are doing this? There will never be a concrete, categorically correct, sane nor moral answer. Because it is what it is, a traveler’s road is harsh and being a naive, sweet and ribbon-embellished face in the crowd will just place you at the bottom of the food chain. You will be chewed alive, the ribbon will just get you as far as role playing. So we have to be strong by letting our guards down and baring our bones to the world, because this is how we will learn. Being devoid of color and cultural cloth is setting yourself to be a blank canvas.
Phase 7: Cuddling
Hahahaha! Bitch, please!
(The real) Phase 7: Coffee time
A sensitive phase when both (or all) parties decide where to take the connection, every single verbal or non-verbal cues should be taken into account. This will determine what will happen next. Problems will arise if the next moves are conflicting and not aligned with each other. This is the time when Phase 4 can come in really handy.
“But she did cave in to the palpable urge to shout on top of her lungs of some random words she felt she needed to let out. It was liberating, just the kind of breather that she needed at that time… Read more“
Phase 8.1: The piece of paper
Will you shake each others’ hands? Will you hand down that piece of paper? What ever the next step will be, it should be muatual. It can get really ugly if one did not get the hint or fail to send the message across.
“Hello, stranger. I know you were not able to know who I really was, but just so you know, I cheated. I took note of your full name on our way back to the city. With only that inhand, i will find you… Read more“
Phase 8.2: Moving on
“I declared my intentions of going off on a long-term solo adventure. He was worried but did not stop me. After all, we met while traveling. He understood the call that was too great for me to ignore… Read more “
The outcome will not determine who wins and who loses, because after all, it is not a competition. It is not rocket science for us not to understand the art of connecting to a stranger. Rules are simple: By the time one has to move to the next destination, just pack the bags, say goodbye and never look back.
That is the beauty of this art, it will elicit emotions and expose it right in front of your face, for you to learn, for you to understand yourself more and if played correctly—it is collateral free.
Staying in touch is an option, while totally forgetting what happened is universally acceptable. Because by default, there is an understanding that travelers are strong, gutsy and if there is one thing we are really good at, it should be the art of MOVING ON
This is the Philippine Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for the month of November
The polaroid frames used in this article are all from the WWW