I’m back in Aljezur, Portugal, completely exhausted but content after a long day of traveling yesterday from Agadir, Morocco. Apparently in the summer there are direct EasyJet flights from Agadir to Faro, the closest airport to here (still more than an hour away), but any other time you have to fly to London first and then back down south to Portugal.
It’s totally counter-intuitive and made what should have been a two-hour flight yesterday into a nearly 12-hour door-to-door ordeal. I was wishing for a parachute when the pilot informed us we were passing over the Portuguese coast at Faro on the flight from Agadir to London.
Fortunately, my friend David was kind enough to drive out from his home in Maria Vinagre, a town just up the road in the opposite direction, to pick me up, for which I rewarded him with dinner and petrol money (the combined total of which was still less than transfer fare). Unfortunately, I was way too tired to fully enjoy dinner with him, although it was nice to spend time with him, as always, and I feel on much more solid footing with him friendship-wise.
We seem to have turned some corner — I seem to have passed whatever secret initiation I had to go through to win him over. He even gave up a night with his new Dutch girlfriend to come out to meet me, which is a far cry from all of the unexplained missed connections the last time I was here in April when he didn’t even have a girlfriend.
It was much nicer to have someone greet me here in Portugal than to have to taxi alone back to my little house in the country after the amazing yet somewhat surreal experience I had in Morocco — a place so different and far removed from what has been my every-day life for so many years.
My last two days living in a little house on the beach and hanging out in Taghazout with some local surfers especially seemed so very, very far away from the life I left in New York — and I felt very far, far away from the person I have been in that life. At the same time, it was quite comfortable and familiar, and I wanted to stay lost in it forever.
That said, a personal welcome rather than a silent taxi drive and drop-off at home made re-entry much more palatable. One of the loneliest feelings in the world is arriving at an airport with no one there to meet you; there is that expectancy when you arrive somewhere, having traveled all that way, that there should be some kind of reward at the end for all the trouble you’ve gone through.
Just as my friendship with David seems to have crossed some kind of invisible line, so has my relationship with my previous life. I am not sure I can go back to it; in fact, right now, I am quite sure I can’t.
Returning here after a holiday instead of to New York felt so much more like returning home, even though I am still in a foreign country where I barely speak the language. Today as I hung my freshly laundered clothes on the line outside in the pre-dusk chill, something just felt so right about it — the light breeze blowing my hair, the damp of the clothes against my skin, the last orange glow fading in the west where I knew the sun had yet to kiss the ocean even as the valley was already turning dark and cool.
I don’t know what I am going to do for work yet or how I will manage, but I really can’t see myself going back to live in the U.S. once the end of December rolls around — at least not for more than a little while to manage my personal affairs. Maybe this sentiment will change by the time I am due to fly back and I’m still in some hash-influenced Morocco afterglow; maybe not.
Right now I feel quite sure that if I can’t stay here, then I will go somewhere else in Europe, or back to North Africa or maybe a new continent I have yet to explore (South America? Asia?). I am not sure how this happened, or where the line is between the end of the me I was and the beginning of the me I am now. I do know that while it feels strange to be this lost, it also somehow feels like I have known I was going this way all along.