I am heading out on what some might call “The Travelin Bum World Tour” where I will be staying with people from different countries to gain a better understanding of what it is like to be part of the LGBT community in other cultures. The first day aka traveling day. I left my New York City apt to head to Newark airport where I was flying to Lisbon. I made it through customs, found my gate, naturally found an outlet where I started charging my phone. I didn’t acknowledge anyone, I just sat down with my sunglasses on and wasn’t in the mood to speak to anyone. This kid comes up to me and says hey can you watch my stuff, I said sure why not. As I watched him walk away I thought hmm he is kinda cute.
When he came back he laid on the floor with me and and he said “Hey, I’m Joey” and we naturally started talking about life. He asked me about my shirt and I told him about the Travelin bum. I asked Joey what brought him on this flight to Lisbon.. he said he just escaped the Marine Core and was honorably discharged. He realized the Marine Core wasn’t for him and the path he was on wasn’t good. Joey and I were both on our way to Italy. We shared the next 2 flights together and obviously a pit stop to get chicken nuggets was on the agenda.
On our last flight from Lisbon to Italy we shared our personal coming out stories. Joey told me that when he first came out he was drunk, for those who know me I was also drunk. Joey was rushed to the hospital for being too drunk and they thought he wasn’t going to make it. He woke up still wasted and told his parents he was gay and as respectable parents they weren’t even phased by his words. Joey obviously survived the night and his parents have loved and supported him ever since in regards to his sexuality. However Joey’s family did not support his travels to Europe. They told him that he didn’t have the money, or a job, or anything planned now that he left the Marine Core. He told said “Mom I’ll figure it out”.
We then landed in Milan, parted ways, both with intentions to one day see each other again. Joey who is also traveling alone taught me that sometimes lost opportunities can lead you to where you want to be. He realized the Marine Core wasn’t for him and financially maybe this wasn’t the brightest decision, but in reality when is the timing or finances aligned? Take a risk in life and let the cards fall as they may. 10 years from now we will remember more about the experiences with each other, more than sitting at home watching our bank accounts reach five thousand dollars. Money will come and go, but our youth and the opportunity to travel while we are young diminishes day by day.