We’re off to Georgia (the country in Eastern Europe, not the US state), although I hear that’s lovely too. I’m interested in soviet history, and on my travels I’ve lost control of my mind from Russia to Kazakhstan, from Estonia to Latvia, Lithuania to Ukraine. I’ve ruminated on the ridiculous before Statues of Vladimir Lenin; touched my forehead for luck like my fingers were manipulating a typewriter deep inside defunct nuclear bomb shelters; imagined blinding white lights and chanted a thousand and one mantras while learning the horrors of a former Gulag or KGB headquarters. A visit to Georgia was only a matter of time, and I was fading to nothing at home so pushed myself to get back on the road. This trip I want to visit Azerbaijan and Armenia too, and a return to Ukraine. Belarus if I’m lucky…
“Why not a beach in Thailand?” I’ve been asked. Well, I went to a beach in Thailand, where I was asked “Why not go somewhere more off of the backpacker trail?” And so it goes…
It just means that the scenery is going to change around me, not the everyday struggle. I’ll still glare at myself in the mirror, threatening my reflection with violence when frustration sets my mind on fire. It’ll just be a mirror hanging on a wall in Georgia.
If I stayed at home I’d go through the same trials, I’d just feel worse about it, because I’d see it as wasting time, squandering my one life on this planet. I’ve done plenty of that already; laying in my bed, forehead banging against the wall, hiding from the world and everyone in it, sentencing myself to solitary confinement as life passes overhead in the wind. However ill I get, however deep the Crow’s claws scratch, I must always push forward.
OCD is like an extra layer of skin, itching beneath the other nine; or a third arm, a useless one that grabs onto anything that will slow you down; another eye that looks in on itself, searching for terrible fabricated secrets. OCD is a part of me, and that bastard crow is the first of us to pack his toothbrush. He tries to ruin a trip to the local shop so of course he’ll try and ruin our time in Georgia. I’m off and he’s coming with me, his shadow swishing around my throat like a black cloak, so get over it, Yan. This way I’m giving it a go, easing those knots in my stomach, making me feel a little better about myself. Today, I still have no idea what we’re going to do when we get there, and that’s the adventure I guess… something I don’t want the crow to ever take away from me.
If I surrendered to the crow I’d never have met some of the great people that I have, from all over the world, from seventy-two year old adventurers to gap year students who share the same slightly twisted sense of humour; I’d never have disappeared down a pot-hole mid conversation in Kampala; never bathed naked with the local village greengrocer in the onsens of Japan; I’d never have embarrassed myself dancing salsa in a Havanan bar or booed the villains at the Lucha Libre in Mexico City. You’ve stopped me from doing a lot, bastard crow, but not everything.
‘Yeah yeah yeah, you’ll eat my eyes out, you’ll shove me down the stairs, you’ll set my hair on fire, you’ll bite my fingers off, you’ll smash my face into the wall. All these things and more if you had the chance. Do whatever you have to do, bastard crow, just don’t forget your toothbrush…’