By Iulia Gheorghe
Julie walking the golden line in the Far West © Carnetsdetraverse
I’ve never met you and still, I have to say those words that we usually say to a presumable soulmate whom we meet in a bar on a Friday night, and whom we (think we) want to marry, four hours later : I feel like I’ve known you for all my life. This may sound weird, but hey, it’s 1:54 am, almost a full moon and as a bonus, a total lunar eclipse tonight - things are expected to get crazy. Astrologers announce important shifts and movements, shadows to be exposed. Chani Nicholas warns us that « this eclipse is abundant in its ability to rip through the predictability of life and produce a completely new paradigm ». This unpredictability, you knew it very well. But your philosophy was to never doubt the beauty of being alive, even when life was playing us. Life is still playing us, Julie. Life is still beautiful, though.
What I am writing right now was not supposed to be a letter. I wanted to write an article about travelling, in a funny tone; my regular, typical one. I wanted to write about shiny & shitty moments while travelling. I am sure you had some of those, too. I wanted to write about travelling as an introvert and I think you would have understood me. And I particularly wanted to write about travel shaming. Unfortunately, it became part of the current travel culture, to despise the conventional forms of travelling. Tourist-bashing is flourishing, be an adventurer or go home. I cant’ be that kind of traveler. Sometimes, I only want to lie my head on a sand dune and breathe. I think that there is definitely place for all of us and places for everyone to enjoy and fall in love with forever. Why bothering with labels ? We are born travelers : in space, in time, in between loaded hearts and twisted minds. Touristy places can be magical. Your photos of Venice are a perfect example. In one of the captions, you were saying that you were feeling like an explorer discovering a new world. I think you were also exploring your own artistic world, whimsically.
I felt like seawater, and your written words were the breeze that kept carrying me from one shore to another, from one city to another
Beside your exquisite aesthetics in photography, there were your notes. And your notes were the ones who made my gut mend, my eyes produce droplets of salty fluid, my exhale wispy – I felt like seawater, and your written words were the breeze that kept carrying me from one shore to another, from one city to another, from one highway to another, from Tokyo to Ireland, from Jack London to Hemingway. You built a travel cosmos, complete and truly inspiring, without the FOMO and all the crap. Carnetstraverse is one of those social media universes which doesn’t let you quit social media. The eye is genuinely trapped in that moment captured by an image ; in the meantime, all of one’s senses are awoken by your belles lettres – the humbleness of this powerful combo gave me goosebumps and God, I love this feeling.
Julie, three hours ago I started an article about traveling and I deleted everything, because something was missing and I remembered my favorite travelling account on Instagram and I searched for it, found it and everything was sublime as usual and then, only after a few seconds, I asked myself why are they travelling without her? Somehow, the algorithm didn’t show me the video posted this winter on your feed. Somehow, the algorithm refused the unbelievable.
I am re-reading the last paragraph and I find so many ands. Maybe it’s a word that unfolds something about you. Julie and Renaud. Julie and Renaud and Louise. Renaud and Louise.
I instantly felt like travelling back home
Julie, they are doing such a great job. I can feel the same grace, smoothness and finesse when I swipe through their journeys that I felt when I swiped through yours. Right now, it’s the crispy aura of the Norwegian coast. They are sailing together, Renaud and Louise. In one of their latest posts, he talks about the Norwegian light in summer - alive, glistening, empowering – reminding him about Romania. I instantly felt like travelling back home.
I feel like travelling back to myself. Back to a blank page. Maybe it’s because of that eclipse stuff or maybe it’s because of you. I searched for my own carnets. They are not red, as I understood yours are. They were waiting on a dusty shelf, and it’s the first time when I’ve had the courage to look at them with a clear intention: another kind of journey, which doesn’t involve planes, Google maps and Airbnb. But it does involve good things, or at least I hope so.
There are good things here, Julie, you said.
You wrote it in your travel note « 03 -The Hacienda » in February 2016 :
I see spinning Renaud, bright eyes and smile on the lips,
A silent nod and a camera in his hand.
I know what it means. There are good things here.
First moments in the Hacienda San Jose,
The air is very sweet, I would say 26 or 27 degrees,
An elegant jungle all around us; extraordinary large trees, walls of blue color, ocher, yellow.
Jungle songs, birds of paradise here and there.
Around every building I expect to meet my dear Hemingway, a glass of gin in hand, welcoming us.
I close my eyes and I am standing in that garden of the Hacienda. Your notes are quantum spaceships. Thank you for sparking my « eureka » moment through them. Thank you for your desire to continue your project through your legacy and your family, inspiring others to take a pen or a camera in their hands. Julie, I hope Hemingway welcomed you, a glass of gin in his hand as you wished. I don’t know where, but perhaps another traveler, like Kerouac, might know that better.
There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep rolling under the stars.
by Diana Rusu
I don't really feel like writing, I haven't written in thousands of years and if I catch a word on its way to my fingers, I turn on the police sirens. Wailing. Alarm, alarm. Of course I'm literally shitting myself thinking about the next step. Self confidence has never been my strength.
Ok, maybe not the police sirens, but sometimes I can be like a squealing baby, if something has been triggered, some distant memory, perhaps.
So, I moved country again. I was scared of many things, but changing my life wasn't one of them. In case of a panic attack, I would have been prepared and I was certain I could hold my horses, when the smells around me on the streets of Bucharest took me on a wave of anxiety. I am home again; and it was all too intimate. My brain refused to speak the language.
"Today, intimacy is INTO-ME-SEE"*
With so many options and not enough guidelines, how do we know that we found the one?, I'm hearing *Esther Perel talking through the screen of my computer. Of course, it made me think, was it London? Was it Cluj? Is it any other city in the world? - I had no idea. But then, whenever I had the slightest doubt, I also realized that this wasn't an experiment. There isn't another person with whom I could write the apartment newspaper, invent a story that would last nine years and still be as exciting as it was in the beginning, sing out loud or plan our holidays for when we're 88.
"Fake news isn’t just for politics, it also applies to curated Instagram lives where we craft and filter these perfect stories and no one knows what goes on in the lives of other couples" (E. Perel). It does sound like marketing, but in the same time, it's something that I've been thinking about for quite some time, since I finished reading probably the only non-fiction book I ever digged: Future Sex. When E. Witt is trying to convince herself that it is worth risking contentment for the sake of experience, but it's also important to acknowledge both desire and inhibition, I'm already seeing my past sex, and everything seems in order for the present moment.
"Have some patience, grow a beard. This is real life, not Instagram; we're people, not dogs. Dogs are nice, people are complicated."
As for the filtered lives, aren't we all dealing with our imperfections and pains - when it comes to relationships, as if they are part of a collective story? I'm grateful to have a group of friends where a problem is never my own; I share it with them, but I don't get consolation and silence: I get awareness, context, different cases, history, interpretation AND some banter. It's refreshing to be reminded that you're living in real life, sometimes, if that makes any sense, like when he told me to leave him alone and I kind of freaked out, and just like in the good ol' days when one would log in on a forum to ask for advice, I texted my friends; my friend's response was: "I can yell at him whenever he's disturbing me, especially when I'm reading and I'm in my bubble. He also gets annoyed if I disturb him while he's playing. Have some patience, grow a beard. This is real life, not Instagram; we're people, not dogs. Dogs are nice, people are complicated." (I.)
"It took us A LONG TIME to learn and we're still learning. Relationships are like musical instruments, you cannot just pick one up and expect to know how to play it instantly, you have to learn it" (A.)
Truth is, a relationship for me is not like riding a bike. I don't remember how to do it, even if I've done it before. This into-me-see that Esther talks about is a good catchline, but what if we don't know how to address it? Oh well, I actually started typing this post two months ago, and I guess we'll have more than enough time to figure out plenty of catchlines. In the meantime, I'll try to write well, and edit often.