The last week in Leipzig presented me with a tough challenge. I had to recognize, that some of my travel acquaintances meant more to me than I would admit. A tiny spark fed by optimism is easily capable of starting a fire, which again culminates in a feeling, you should refrain from while traveling. Desire.
While I was standing at the highway entrance in Leipzig on Monday morning, I dropped one of my bracelets. A bracelet, reminding me of a mistake I once did. Let go. It’s hard to find the perfect moment for giving up on something or someone. A ‘perfect’ moment might not even exist. I chose Leipzig for letting go, I chose Leipzig to turn over a new leaf. A new chapter, starting on a highway petrol station in Czech, starting in a soggy tent.
Leipzig means a reunion with 2 old mates. 2 Martins. According to my phone directory it’s ‘Martin Thailand‘ and ‘Martin New Zealand’. That’s me trying desperately to keep track of my traveling friends. I met both of them while couchsurfing. We had the same hosts. I planned to stay for 3 days but ended up lingering in Leipzig for even more than a week. So far the longest stay on this trip. Not because of the city itself, but rather due to some amazing people I got to know or met again.
A brief glimpse at the guest list. +1, ticked off. High ceilings make the apartment appear tremendous. Ceilings similar to the ones I saw in Georgia. I reckon heating these huge rooms in winter is less of a problem over here in Germany. Superficial, profound and imbecile conversations balance each other. “Yes, it indeed is cold at the North Cape”, “Ouh yes, giving all gods the same name sounds like a genius approach”, “Is there some alcohol left?”. I’m sitting on a warm, wooden floor. I’m sitting in a position that reminds me of meditating in Myanmar. Loyd, a tall, English man with curly, long hair enters the stage. Tonight, stage means a living area lighted by an enormous amount of candles, stuck into old alcohol bottles. Faded tattoos on his arms remind of his past in a rock band. Nowadays he tours alone, playing the guitar and a banjo in turns, while using his powerful, craggy voice to sing about long forgotten women, hope and fortune. A ripped banjo string towards the end of the concert buys me enough time to grab a smoke in the kitchen. A pleasant, warm, almost Christmassy feeling on my chest. The first mulled wine for this winter.
A meeting point, that could not have been more striking. The front of an old cathedral built in a modern university. This, in comparison with my old university, makes me grin. Martin, who I hitch hiked with around New Zealand 2 years ago, shows me around the city center and the eastern parts of Leipzig. His appearance, characterized by a grey woman’s coat from a thrift shop and long, blonde locks, reminds me of a young piano virtuoso. The old, almost forgotten New Zealand stories still achieve to entertain us. A forgotten bandana, Martin once tamed his hair with. A bandana that inspired me so much, that I spent my remaining 7 months in Asia wearing one of these. A bandana, that rests on my commode back home by this time. Lying there, doing nothing all day, it is still capable of sparking nostalgia.
Hammers pounding on steel, occasional danger signals and frantically screaming people cause a threatening setting. And old gas storage turned into a 360 degrees panorama tourist attraction. The painting on these curved walls creates an optical illusion of a three-dimensional view. A view on a long forgotten tragedy. The Titanic.
An unlucky poker tournament, joints wandering from one player’s hand to the other’s, and cheap, German beer make me waking up on a strange couch. The following Saturday takes me to a student’s house party. A party that makes me fall in love. In the course of this evening, I’ll get many compliments for my new partner and we’ll end up on a white couch in the shared living area. Together with Eric, one of Martin’s friends, we’re the last survivors. “Home, let me come home, home is wherever I’m with you” is playing. Memories…let go… I say goodbye to my diverting partner and put the shirt back in Arno’s wardrobe. It’s time to go home.
I met the other Martin about 2 years ago in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We were both staying with 2 wonderful girls in a remote hut surrounded by bamboo. We both stayed longer than initially planned. Now I extended my stay in Leipzig, how fitting. Our stay in Thailand not only got me in touch with card tricks for the first time, it also stills effects the amount of alcohol I have to drink while playing ‘Never have I ever’. A carefree time. A time we both miss. It’s hard to fight someone’s craving for travel, the craving for excitement, the craving for adrenaline. Fortunately, I haven’t fought that war yet. But sooner or later, I will have to. I’ll have to let go.
Let go. A feeling that makes sad at the first moment. Simultaneously, it made my backpack feel perceptibly lighter. Every human being has an impact on another. The certainty that I influenced some people in a positive way, helped or even changed their lives. A thought, that makes letting go slightly easier but still, it takes a while to turn grief into goodly memories. A period, in which people tend to break down. A period, in which my friends in Leipzig helped me a lot, without even knowing about it. You see, our lives aren’t that different after all. There is good days, and there is bad days.
You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.
(to) let, let, let
I let go.