I tend to like the gritty faces of cities more than their manicured extremities–though I will admit that this particular wandering adventure might not have been so wise. Johannesburg, South Africa–where warnings of ‘careful’ and ‘don’t go there’ stand in for ‘hello’ and ‘how are you?’
I am careful
but I do go there.
It’s strange–I quickly forget how much I stand out, I easily stop remembering that I’m a blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman traveling alone in worlds that aren’t well acquainted with blonde-haired, blue-eyed women wandering solo across “emerging” continents.
I forget and then I’m reminded by strange looks or loud calls or undue attention or the way streets are disrupted when I turn the corner.
(Un)fortunately for me, every corner I turn leads me to faces and stories and inspiration in unusual places… So I don’t stop. I can’t stop.
There are too many things you can only find when you don’t know what you are looking for.
Or rogue school-girl artists painting industrial-sized canvases.
It’s the only way to locate packs of misunderstood river monsters.
Or perfectly-posed Jo-Burg Gypsies.
How else would you discover that barbed wire is
so ugly and so beautiful
when it is wrapped against the clouds?
Or find chalkboard wisdom you didn’t know you needed.
Aimlessness gets you to the foundation of a ‘freedom tower.’
And finds you a use for your 13 pairs of rusting scissors
I wish I could sometimes be a fly-on-the-wall.
to make my addiction safer or more authentic.
Instead I’m bleached skin in black flats and dark khakis,
Instead my otherness announces itself on arrival.
But whether wise, unwise or indifferent–
I’m doomed to wander all the same.