From Issue 2: An Explorer's Life Guide

Adriana Hammond
Where are those corners of the world where we find Meaning to fill our heavy desires? The shrouded corners for those who seek and seek for more than triviality yet understand that our dreams may remain in an undisturbed respite without the temptation of the frivolous. I believe in the frivolous as much as I believe in depth and I find myself searching for the profound as two parts (an unbridled duality–not a contradiction, for they are a powerfully united dialogue).
One part, so reactive and so ablaze, carries a compass that points firmly toward pleasure. She breathes to a meditative rhythm of,
“Never stop moving, never stop moving…”
The other is a reluctant follower of the first and heavy with doubts. Her map is riddles, for no direction should indicate north. Therefore, she is meant to always go and while going harness the meaning in that going. Those two are my ceaselessly searching, often unforgiving, and truly inseparable characters.
How then, to navigate the vast and ever-changing milieu? Is there a poet for me? One who, upon discovery, instigates a new inner struggle?
Or, perhaps, I am simply a slave to the curse of interminable yearning.
Those corners of Meaning, I believe are waiting—waiting while I want and I am convinced that this correlation is the mystery of innermost freedom; in that struggle lies the reward when something is found.
Until recently, I had supposed that travel was a simple method of escape from my pains. Abroad in my new world, I could be charmed away from the stings of loneliness and rejection. Late last spring was yet another suffering and it was time to leave, this occasion to the Czech Republic and onward (the proud habits of a runaway—to begin a new fight, rather than sit with an old defeat).
I remember the heat of the train car in that early July. Pulling out of Prague to Germany I swiftly covered my mouth. I felt through my hands the muted shriek of elation in thinking of the momentary romantic encounter the night before with the bluest- eyed Czech. Oh, he was striking with his statuesque chin, golden shag, and strong shoulders. His disposition was very curious, yet unassuming. And so perfect that it was all unplanned. I had gone out to the Old Town find some jazz, drink some absinthe, and ignore my most recent error in love. To find him was a kind of gift and he was mystified that I was alone. The vermillion-punk walls were made for desire as we sat close in that petite bar drinking Staropramen. “You are a sort of adventurer, an explorer?” He wanted to understand me, and at that moment I was thinking I was more like a conquistador of romance, but an explorer is nice too. Then he asked if I liked Kubrick and I knew we were meant to find each other.
What that encounter was for me, I can only understand now as an act of courage. I had been so afraid to engage again in any form of love. Then on that train, in that heat, unlike before, I felt compelled to absorb every insight from fellow travelers as I was now carrying an exhilaratingly new fondness for life. Through this edification was the revelation that I am never truly alone. Now, I better understand, these journeys are not propelled by fear but from a desire to actively engage in the beauty of life— I find no Meaning in passive observance. The transient and the frivolous are an explorer’s life guides. True depth is coupled with the profound consequences.


Adriana Hammond is a candidate for a Master of Arts in Russian Studies at Boston College with an emphasis in literature. Currently, she is finishing a thesis regarding the influence of Buddhism on contemporary Russian literature. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.