Astrologists tell me that I am an escapist but I have no idea what I’m running away from. Myself, perhaps. Distracting myself with coach rides and airport terminals and train conductors who speak in foreign tongue. On the most part, my summer is rain and coffee and cigarettes, running with newspapers and bags and regretting why I thought it was a good idea to leave that umbrella at home, playing hopscotch with puddles and dodging others who are dodging the rain too. Hotel rooms, Polo and girls with voices pitched too high screeching ‘D.F.T.B.A.’ in my face. Not that I ever forget, of course.

And now this trip. Susanna accompanies me on my travels, convincing myself that what I am doing is self-productive and a necessity to remain interesting, complex. Internal self-modification. Expensive. Or convincing others, parents. Self-assured. Proud. Be proud. Is it egotistical and self-flattering to think that our own lives are proclaimed to be busy? Chaos correlates with interest, less complication correlates with boring. We tell others that we don’t want complication in our lives but with no drama, I’m restless.

I’m like you. I want to turn the sound off. I want to be alone with things that don’t pay.

I stay in hostels for the first time. I like them. I love them, even. I am a hostel lover, perhaps. I like the word ‘lover’. Lover. It’s superior to ‘partner’ and it has endless connotations. It’s warm and fun and almost always honest. Partner equals one of two but you can have endless lovers… hostels… This trip I stay in three. And each day has been a winding road and a new destination and an added ounce of self-discovery, making observations about my body that I have rehearsed a thousand times before.

gay bars and tipping barmaids and people watching

I think of how we got here. We weren’t even old enough to be in that bar but one minute we’re football spectators behind glass and thousands of miles away and the next we’re doing tequila shots and eating tequila worms. Or rather you did. You’re not even Scottish and neither am I but we celebrate the goals as if we were. Equaliser and tumblers aim for the roof tops. I didn’t make it to school the next morning: too busy walking from town to Broughty Ferry because you say didn’t go to the gym that day. Already there are sacrifices and lies. Too polite to tell the truth, too polite to say no.

More than a year later it’s gay bars and tipping barmaids and people watching. Observing others observe. We’re drinking Heineken, getting into the spirit. You choose this bar and I feel uncomfortable. I’m out numbered. In fact, I’m the only girl here and I feel awkward. I don’t even like this Heineken. Politeness, again. Passive aggressiveness and tension.

Now I don’t even know why we thought it would be a good idea to get the flight which was so early it’s still dark. We’re still sleepy and there is no life outside it seems. Everyone else has common sense. We’re alone and it feels nice.