Musings on Traveling and the Death of a Friend

January 8, 2010: Goa

While traveling you see your best and worst sides very clearly. You spend so much time by yourself—so many long stretches of time sitting idle on busses and trains, considering the many aspects of any given situation. Your senses are alive as you observe everything, and you find yourself reflecting on all the new experiences that you are having. Everything is new—some things are pleasant, while others seem terrible.

Eventually you realize that all this reflection on the physical world is just another form of introspection. Like looking in a mirror. You can talk to ten travelers—and equal parts will tell you they love a particular place, while the others hate it. It seems to me that this is because you bring yourself wherever you go, and different places make you more aware of certain characteristics of yourself—the ones you love, which make you happy, and the ones you hate, which make you want to get gone.

All week I’ve been feeling particularly lonely here in Goa. I haven’t been happy. Suddenly I feel very isolated and much out of the loop here. I am in this by myself, traveling, and there is no one to lean on in my time of need. In the silence of my self-directed world I find myself casting fears and musing about things real and unreal.

Last night I learned in an email that a dear friend, Dave Poole, had died a few days ago while traveling in China . I must’ve looked like a crazy man because I burst into tears and slipped into a deep dark hole of helplessness there in the internet café.

Dave was one of my first friends when I got to Portland five years ago. One of the most beautiful, creative, hilarious, and inspirational human beings I’ve ever known, Dave had a magnetic personality and everyone loved him. When I first got to Portland he had just unofficially commenced a weekly-outing social group known as FNAC, or Friday Night Activity Club. The club had rotating members, but Dave was the heartbeat and week after week we all kept Friday open so that we could spend time in the light of his fun, witty, exciting friendship. He was also amazing at saxophone and his bands always rocked. He was way ahead of his time in the field of digital animation and produced many brilliant cartoons laced with hilarious Dave Poole wit. His death saddens me deeply, as he was very much a light in this world.

I can’t attend his funeral, I can’t hug anyone, nor receive any hugs. I still don’t even know he died, my emails haven’t been returned. It’s a strange feeling in my heart tonight, as I contemplate all these things.

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