San Francisco has been a very interesting experience for me.
I’ve decided that I enjoy travelling alone more than I like going places with someone. While it can be fun to have somebody to roll your eyes at or to have lots of “holy shit did you even just see that!” moments with, there’s something liberating about being in a foreign environment without needing to be that character you are every day at home.
There’s something freeing about being able to be ‘on vacation,’ even from yourself.
The trouble is, sometimes you’re a bad traveler. Up until today, I had experienced some of what this city had to offer, without finding anything that would really bring me back here. San Francisco is dirty and loud and off-putting in all the ways I imagine people who don’t live in New York probably find that city to be. But somehow I’ve managed to kindle a long standing romance with New York. The vibration there is just right against the bottom of my shoes. I feel safe and secure in a way that I just don’t in other places.
Today I got to see some of San Francisco through the eyes of a man who has the same love for this city that I have for mine. A comfort and a familiarity and an ease of existence that comes only with years of daily life and countless moments of profound experience. I saw one of the most shockingly beautiful parks I’ve ever been inside of. I got a view of the homes and the ocean from the top of a mountain, that only someone who has lived a life here would know to look for. I rode the train like a local. I got to see the google bus. I had delicious tacos and Mexican 7Up.
And over the course of an afternoon, I got to know someone who lives a life entirely different from my own. Who interacts with the world in nearly a totally opposite way than I do. This man sees his existence with an analytical quality few people could ever hope to possess, and isn’t daunted by struggles of his past or the hurdles in his future. I meet so many people in my life that seem like they’re disposable; who exist only because they haven’t thought of anything else to do. It’s jarring to encounter someone who exists with such fury and purpose.
Part of my heart is very captivated by this man. And while I know he isn’t available to me, it’s refreshing to feel sort of taken with someone so unexpectedly.
I don’t think I’ll be back in SF soon. But today will weigh on my mind for a while to come. And when I do return, it will be because of what I saw and felt through the eyes and experience of someone else.