When it comes to searching online, loneliness whilst travelling isn’t too much of a hot topic. I suppose it’s because most travel bloggers and travel writers are paid to sell, sell, SELL that dream! And loneliness, (much like death) just doesn’t sell much at all unless you’re a (dead) creative genius.
Because who really wants to hear about the sad part of your vay-cay? It’s also kind of hard to feel sorry for someone who is sipping cocktails on the beach if you’re at home viewing their (seemingly perfect) holiday pictures from your work computer. Sympathy will be in short supply there, you can be sure.
I don’t want to moan. This isn’t a moany post. But it’s an honest one. Travelling solo can be the most isolating thing in the world. And if you’re not prepared to roll with the punches when it hits, loneliness can knock you out and send you home. For real.
I am on sip number three of vodka lemonade number two, when he tilts his head and asks: what is it exactly, that I love so much about New York City? And I have so much to say, but no real way of explaining myself without sounding crazy. Not in this small, dark bar, that’s made for even smaller talk with strangers, anyway.
What I want to say, is that I like how the air hangs low and heavy with noises that I didn’t even know existed before I came here; sounds so loud they cut through my headphones. Sounds so surreal I want to slice them up and ship them off to my friends and family back home, so they know just what I mean when I say:
New York City is just so noisy.
I’d play them the almighty roar of fire-truck engines in the evening. And the slow, steely yawn of the heavy doors that guard the city’s biggest buildings. I’d let them hear the bump-and-rattle of the laundry carts on the side-walk, groaning under the weight of somebody’s clothes in summer. And the determined thwack of a snow shovel, slicing through the ice in winter. I’d explain that yes, NYC hums the same late-night lullaby for everyone; sirens and shouting, bachata and rap. But that when I listen closely, I’m certain it’s conducting a special symphony, just for me, above the din.
So after years of pining over the melanin-heavy photos of AFROPUNK festival online and wishing that I had; 1), a Brooklyn residency. (So that I could stroll on over to the festival, then stroll on back to my apartment/house and pass out.) And 2), a fly outfit. (For the photos). I finally got myself together and actually made it to AFROPUNK, 2016 in New York City.
The annual celebration of black music, culture, fashion and activism takes place in Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park for a weekend. This just so happened to be about twenty minutes from where I was living; meaning the pass-out at the end was quick and easy and painless. Just as I’d always envisaged.