Travelling alone often does not mean being alone. There are lots of people to be met along the way and some of them travel with you for a little while, sharing costs, laughter, plates of food. There is a kind of safety in having company to quirk an eyebrow with, there is someone else to fight with taxi drivers and frown down at the mysteries of incomprehensible maps.
It is good to travel with people but sometimes it is also good to leave them behind. It is easy to get lost in buying tickets, setting plans, making conversation. It is easy to find yourself compromising when you don’t really need to. So now I am alone again.
The morning road from Santiago de Cuba snaked through high green hills to the little town of Baracoa, where Columbus first set foot on Cuba. I tumbled off the bus, rumpled with travel and heavy with bags, and set about finding a place to stay. More through luck than judgement I ended up in a tiny apartment of my own for a price I can comfortably afford. My cup over flows.
I have rooms to wander through, tracing sleepy paths in the dust that coats everything with a little forgetfulness. I have another bed if I bore of the first.
I wash days of dirt from my clothes and let them dance in the wind.
In the evening I sit in the front room, empty but for two old rocking chairs, which I try by turns, the gentle creak pushing out through the open door to sit with the clustering darknesses that cling to the Maracua trees.
The night is dense with music, laughter, pounding feet. But I sit and rock and dream of a place of my own. I magic the tiny dusty little apartment back home, imagine family close by, friends to feed. I picture myself painting the walls bright colours, placing my books, hanging up my clothes, sitting in my peace.
It is strange the dreams that find us when we are living another…