My Most Magical Travel Moment of 2017: a Tribute to George

Magical Moments and Shared Happiness

I make a bare-minimum effort to document my most magical travel moments of the year in a sad effort to maintain this personal (public) travel journal,.

Because that’s what it’s all about. Those magical moments. These moments are usually sparked by the people I meet. And this year has been no exception.

Many incredible moments have occurred in my stark lonesome as well, but what was that devastating Into the Wild quote? Happiness only real when shared? Preach, Christopher McCandless.

When I think about the magic of travel, I think about the relationships I’ve formed and the moments spent with those people.

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And with that, I’d like to talk to you about my friend George.

In July of this year I set off to explore Eastern Europe and I resisted (for barely a month) a strong desire to return to Greece. As I sat in my hostel in Bratislava, gazing longingly at a flight search to Rhodes, I finally said “f*ck it”, clicked book, and made my way to the airport.

Who am I to question the Universe? Gimme dat Feta.

These magical moments are always the result of listening to your intuition and being on the right frequency.  I know that may turn some people off, but I merely want you to understand that I was supposed to be in RhodesAnd that is because I was supposed to meet George. And if you don’t believe in that kind of synchronicity then you’ll have a hard time understanding George or our relationship in the first place.

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I saved this on my phone the day I met you.

George, your time in my life may have been brief in the entirety of my existence but it was a whole chapter in my book and it was one of the most meaningful.

When you write about somebody, they’re an idea. If you’re reading this and you didn’t know George you’re beginning to form his character in your mind. You’re taking my words and building them into the idea of a person in your head.

And I’m happy to help.

George was innocent. He was so purely loving to anyone who deserved his love and understandably defensive and skeptical of those who didn’t. Because to him, life was so simply about goodness. He understood how to take the joy he passionately possessed and best guide it into the world to those who needed it. He gave it to me in a way I still don’t feel I deserved.

In my own life – in my book – he was an indescribably important chapter,  but I wish I could make him be more than these words and ideas to everyone who didn’t know him.

George was brave. Go with the flow, live in the present, have faith in the universe. He was overly-giving and overly-protective. He was the biggest fan and biggest advocate of those he loved.

I still feel the love he gave me and I know it’s real because of the way it has changed me.

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I know he’s real because there’s no friendship I’ve ever had like the one we had.

And there never will be.

And for a while, that’s been the scariest feeling. But now I understand how blessed I am for it. Because it’s not gone. It was intense and powerful and it will last a lifetime – my lifetime – and I hope by sharing this with you that it’ll help you appreciate the power of past and present relationships. I hope it will remind you that they’re eternal no matter when they started or (seemingly) ended.

 


I wrote this back in November after I found out George died:

…I’m trying to watch some stupid show. It’s been 10 days since I found out you were gone. My instinctual response has been to constantly distract myself. So I’m trying desperately to focus on this stupid show.

I worked all day, I listened to a podcast on my drive home.

I cooked dinner, I ate.

I wandered around my house, taking things out of cupboards, “organizing” them, not organizing anything at all.

And then I got in bed. And I didn’t have anything to focus on. It was only for a split second – but in the most terrifying thing I’ve learned since your car accident – a split second is all it takes to lose control. And I lost it.

I miss you because there is no other you. I don’t have anyone in my life that can compare. You always made a point to tell me how special our connection was and it was clear to everyone around us too.

I miss you because I didn’t get enough time with you. I miss you because you didn’t get enough time on Earth. At least not in the realm of Earth that I’m still living in.

I’ve had to meet your sister and your best friend over a Facebook message. Shit, I had to find out you were dead from a Facebook message. And I had to pass that awful message along to everyone in our Greek travel family too.

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Hey Danie, not sure if you heard but George passed away in a car crash, I just found out this morning.

As simple as that. And they’re just words typed on social media.

They’re words on social media that have a meaning and a power so devastating that they’re not just words. Those words became a frequency and that frequency passed through my body as I read them and it altered my being completely… It felt like a frequency made out of glass shards and it broke all of my knowledge about life. It still feels like a fog that entered my mind and won’t leave.

And I have to miss you alone. Because no one around me even knew you.

I’ve always found this so beautiful about travel relationships: you forge them yourself. You meet people and you feel it out. You make a very mutual, very silent agreement to keep meeting. You keep hanging out, you keep talking, you keep exploring. It’s so easy to ‘do you’ when you’re traveling that when you meet someone and you mutually decide that you want to double-team life with that other human you barely know? That shit is special.

In our case, we found out that our hostel was fully booked, so you and I booked a hotel room together that night (I’m pretty sure we’d known each other 24 hours?). And then we did it again. And again. And then we both found separate jobs on Rhodes, so we spent one night apart. Until, after one night, you quit your job and came to work with me. So then we slept in cute little twin beds next to each other again.

And to be honest, I barely had a job. Because you refused to let me lift a finger. I would wake up and go to start my work and find half of it completed by you when you weren’t even supposed to be working.

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And at night. We’d say goodnight– and in those moments of silence where breaths are still tapered and bodies are still adjusting, we would find each other’s hand and fall asleep.

Here is what hurts the most:

  • I sent you that flight. I helped you plan it all. You were doing that drive because I sent you that flight. I know very well that there are a million factors that go into every moment of life, but right now all I can think is that you’d be here right now if I hadn’t sent you that flight.
  • I barely knew you compared to your family and friends. I have no right to miss you this much. But somehow it’s also unfair that I only got so little time with you.

And you know what’s so much more important than all of that?

I could not be more grateful to have met you.

I would endure this pain a million times over and it would still be worth having known you.

The day I left Greece, our soul country, you sent me a quote that I’d almost sent you the day before:

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You were supposed to come home with me and see California. But when you didn’t think it would work out at the moment, you wrote me:

“Another time another place we’ll see each other again, I’m sure of it.”

And I’ve never been surer of anything. I love you, Georgie.

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9 thoughts on “My Most Magical Travel Moment of 2017: a Tribute to George

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  1. This is a beautiful tribute Danielle… I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s incredibly rare to be able to find a kindred spirit, and yet somehow, the odds of finding one are so much greater when we are travelling. It makes us open to new experiences (and people) that we otherwise would not consider in the comforts of home. It resonates with me personally, to a certain extent, I have felt the same (although I never saw them again). I don’t know whether there is anything we can say to ease your pain. I hope that by sharing such an intimate post you’ve been able to express all the emotions that may have been suppressed until now… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it is definitely a freeing feeling and i wanted his family to know how important he was to people like me in case there was any regret about encouraging him to travel❤️ and you said it so perfectly! it’s that mutual vulnerability of being alone and in a foreign place that allows you to connect so deeply.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a stunning piece, you have not only explained travel friendships perfectly but poured your heart out. By the sounds of things he would’ve loved to read this, so sorry for your loss x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh wow! I am sorry for your loss. What a heart felt post. I hate it when we are reminded suddenly how fragile and vulnerable we are in our living. “These magical moments are always the result of listening to your intuition and being on the right frequency.” – I believe in this. I hope that you are feeling better. Warm hugs from Bratislava and wishing you a Merry Christmas 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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