My name is Eric, and I am an addict. I have been an addict for approximately two years. My symptoms? An intense desire to see the road whipping by me at incredible speeds. A complete feeling of awe at the exhilaration of being completely lost in the home town of others, and above all, my main symptom comes from the withdrawals... When I am off the wagon (or on it, depending on your outlook) I have visions. They are quick, maybe a millisecond long. I will be walking down the street, and see a biker, or a street sign, or even the hear the mention of a canal, and my past flashes before me like a junkie coming down.
I am addicted to the very thought of moving. A planning session for an imaginary trip to somewhere foreign sends me into a fever. I cannot go even one day without escaping to a place I have been for merely a few months. Suddenly and without provocation, I am riding a bike through the streets of Nijmegen, Netherlands. It is raining and there is not an end to the storm in sight. The moon peaks through the rounded ends of two blue-grey and pillowy clouds, and I am smiling, because I always was back then. I am bombarded by a cacophony of Polish and Danish and Spanish and Dutch, which is translated to me by a Hungarian guitar player.
I cannot explain my addiction fully, because when one is confronted with the completely irrevocable notion of existing in a place that is not one's own, there is nothing left at the end but the failure of any and every language that has ever existed.
Every language except the unspoken one. The only form of communication available to those who truly understand it. To those who have sat in Amsterdam coffee shops and outside
convenience stores in Korea. There are no words for the last cigarette of the night with those you are truly into.
This, my friends, is my addiction. That right now, I could have the greatest night of my life, and I would still think of the past. Because of this, I will not do the twelve steps. I will not go cold turkey. I will never, nor could I, stop the adrenaline rush of seeing the Coliseum rise up before you past the end of a beer bottle. There is not stopping the visions of the Grote Markt at dawn, with little Dutch ladies pickign through vats of freshly picked corn and wheat. It will forever be in me. It will forever occupy some territory of what is me. A begrudging Lichtenstein refusing conquer.
I am not sad for this. I know that I should be. But if there is one thing on this microscopic landmass that makes even the slightest sense, it is the euphoria I feel by becoming lost. If I am never cured, if I am never found, I will still shoot up the nostalgia of Nijmegen, of Rome, of Brussels, of Seoul, of New York City, of Phoenix, of Dublin, of Jukjeon, of Emporia, KS, U.S.A. and laugh, because happiness is only luck, and I am one of the luckier ones.
I conclude with a wish...
If I could be in one place right now, just one... And I had only a split second to decide. I would be on a train in Europe, going anywhere it took me.