My current residence is bed number three of six on the first floor of a hostel in Bordeaux, France. This is the only way to travel.

Kevin is 19 years old and from Marseilles and is having a bad weekend. His long-distance girlfriend lives here and just broke up with him and he’s drunk on the floor behind two whiskey and cokes (bottles, and not glasses, of each). I don’t know much more about the situation because Kevin only speaks French and I only speak English and both of us have about the same broken, basic version of the other’s language.

But he’s sleeping in the lower bunk of our bed-set and wanted to share his pain while I was getting ready for the night and we spent the better part of an hour trying to translate the language of a broken heart across barriers and a couple drinks. It ended in us truly bonding and finding a common space of understanding where before there was just the slight space between our bunks.

This is the type of shit that people pay to get away from when they go to an Air BnB or a private hotel and it boggles my fucking mind every time. Those who find their own threads in the social fabric of the world will always be the most important. Though to some extent we all must accept social order as it is, some will sacrifice the convenience of capitalism, the comfort of the extra dollar for the underlying possibility of what might happen if we actually have to be human with one another.

In my years of travel, I’ve seen hostels and hotels and campsites and barnyards and it’s always the spaces that deal closer to the margins where the best results are found. People spend money to buy isolation as much as they do a comfortable bed, but that comes with a sacrifice of having these sorts of experiences. Kevin is off on his own, dancing with anyone he can find, and I’m waiting for my friend Nick to arrive from Portland tomorrow. Will we interact again? I don’t know. But I do know that for a night I have something that will last forever and that is more than any sort of private accommodation could be worth.

Posted to Personal at 23:55 on 1 June 2018

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