It’s 1:38 am.
I’m sitting in a hotel room just east of Downtown Portland.
I booked it for $15 using the Expedia Best Rate Guarantee travel hack. By the looks of the room, I wouldn’t pay that much more than that.
I went out with some friends tonight to Sinferno, a burlesque/variety show in a Portland bar. There were dozens of lonely men in the audience. I could literally feel their desperation as they longingly glared at the go-go dancers on stage.
Mesmerized by the undulating torsos and gyrating hips, they failed to notice the dozens of single women in the crowd as well. Some of them were more attractive than the girls on stage. And they were just dying for a man to approach them and make their life more interesting.
But the men didn’t approach, so both left home lonely. Disappointed, frustrated, and with a belly full of alcohol and two slices of cheese pizza.
As I walked to my car, several homeless men asked me for money. I give dollars and spare change to them a lot more than I used to. But there’s not enough cash in my pocket to give to all of them.
There’s a lot of pain in Downtown Portland. It seems like on every corner there are at least a couple of homeless people asking for spare change, smoking cigarettes, or sharing a meal that someone donated to them one way or another.
I couldn’t even imagine the depths of their loneliness. The feeling of always needing to rely on the generosity of other human beings to gather up a few dollars for a hamburger or a gyro.
With a mix of anger, sadness, and a always present state of “fight or flight,” they wander around the streets. I get into my car which has over half of my material possessions in it.
As I get in my car, I see a man sleeping on the concrete under an awning. It breaks my heart.
Earlier tonight in the bar, I shared a story of love lost with another digital nomad friend of mine. He’s gone through similar experiences and several of my other nomad friends have as well.
To the outside world, we share the pictures from the nightclubs of Colombia, the mountains of Norway, and the jungles of Mexico.
But we don’t share the stories of the women we leave behind to continue on our travels. The ones we still love who are now married. The ones who want nothing to do with us now a month after we were saying “I Love You” to each other after a week of knowing each other. The one that a piece of us wants to call right now and say, “I’m giving this all up for you. Let’s make babies together.”
We don’t share the stories of the tear filled goodbyes, failed long distance relationships, and the lonely nights sleeping on a bunkbed in a hostel room with seven teenage boys from Australia.
But that comes with the territory. Stay celibate, have tons of casual sex, or try and do something in the middle.
Right now I’m leaning more towards the celibate. But it’s hard. The situation I mean.
Being 100% on purpose requires a good deal of sacrifice.
I recently studied with David Deida in one of his five day advanced intensives. The experience was so powerful that I haven’t been able to write about it. I won’t write about it. It’s beyond words.
Something he said in that intensive stuck with me.
“A side effect of growth is loneliness.”
It’s true. The more spiritual work I do, the smaller my dating pool gets. The less I want to do things that used to appeal to me. The less I want to get black out drunk and hit on women in bars.
The more I want to keep my mind and body clean to complete my life’s purpose. The more I write things on the Internet that repel more people than they attract. The more I’m content with sitting alone in a hotel room in Portland at 2:18am.
The more I follow my desires, the more I end up on the road less traveled.
I’m very rarely actually alone. My family by blood is small, but my family by choice is huge.
I can land in any major city now and have a place to stay, friends to have meals with, and dozens of kids and pets to cuddle with. And I don’t just stay with random people. I stay with some of the brightest minds on the Internet and for either a couple of days or a week I become one of the family.
I live in a TED talk. It’s absurd how rich my life is.
But tonight I’m alone.
In this godforsaken hotel room.
In this moment there’s a piece of me that wants to fill this hole with something.
In the past I’d text, email, or call a woman I was romantically involved with. Or I’d fill the whole with alcohol, drugs, or carne asada.
But tonight I’m just sitting with it. Sitting alone in this subpar hotel room in East Portland in my underwear writing this blog post.
But that’s where you come in. You’re keeping me company tonight. And tonight that is all I need to have a good night’s rest.
So thank you for being here.
I guess life on the road is not so lonely after all when the whole world is your pen pal.