Days Thirty-Three, Four and Five

by sarajaneafshar

Questions of Travel

I am in Puerto Rico right now! Every time I take a trip I am reminded of the poem “Questions of Travel” By Elizabeth Bishop. The excitement of preparing for travel or vacation, and after the trip, the memory of the surreal sights and new experiences often overshadow the very real anxiety that can happen to any traveler. I love the repeated phrase in the poem, “Should we have stayed at home?”, and anxious run-on quality of the speaker’s voice.

On my own travels, there have been some anxiety-producing events. My travel companion and I parted ways, I had to find new accommodations on limited funds, my cell phone completely fell apart and no longer works… So either I am lonely in a new place with no money and no way to make phone calls, or I am on an adventure, being creative with my time, and I have no way of being disturbed. Definitely the latter. My dad told me one of the wisest things he has ever said to me. “Sometimes we travel to relax, and sometimes we travel to learn”.

Such amazing people I have met so far. I wish I could tell every story here. Although one thing I do want to mention, ladies, if you are ever travelling alone, check if there is a gay hotel in the area! I accidentally booked a gay hotel on the beach and hanging around the bar/restaurant is super fun because everyone is super friendly and no one is hitting on me!! I love this island so much.

To be so removed from Boston and yet still be within the U.S. makes me realize how big the world is. I heard inklings of some kind of kidnapping situations back home, but I didn’t look into it yet. If I was at home, I would have looked up every detail I could… but the local news isn’t as compelling from out here. I wonder what the perspective of people here was when the bombing happened. One Scottish guy tonight ask me if the manhunt was really as scary as it sounded. I didn’t know what to answer. “I still have a hard time going past the memorial”, was all I responded. I didn’t tell him it all made me want to run.

I’ve gotten to go on a couple runs in the past three days. The first run I went on was in Guarnica, along Playa Santa, the Caribbean Sea:


Tonight I went for a great run in the Condado neighborhood in San Juan. Since my phone broke, I couldn’t take any pictures, but it was amazing. I had to wait until night since it is way too hot in the daytime for long runs for this New England gal. Because that neighborhood is very touristy, and is just hotel after hotel, a lot of people on vacations also run Ashford Avenue (where I was running). Every block I passed a runner. It was such a unique experience. I must have passed at least 30 runners. When I got back to the hotel, I threw my suit on as fast as possible and jumped right into the sea. Here’s a picture of the Atlantic I took before my phone broke:


Tomorrow is another day of learning about myself as I navigate this adventure. I have a couple things I want to do– definitely hit the beach up, look for an old, mysterious Iranian Baha’i who has a rug shop somewhere in San Juan, and of course, run.

Good night, San Juan.