This is Mitchell. He looks like he’s alone in this photo but he’s not. That’s because I am on the other side of the lens. As he is, with every photo taken of me. The reality is we are never alone. For the last eight months we have travelled Europe while living in a campervan. We are together 24/7. Always. All. The. Time.
Think about being in a room smaller than your bedroom. But that room is your entire house. And there’s another person in it. You sometimes wish you had a dog for a second person to talk to, because dogs are people too. But then you realise they wouldn’t fit. That’s us.
I have tried to list the times we aren’t together. Like right now, for example, I am sitting outside the van while Mitchell sits inside the van. But if I just reach my arm up and pull open the window…
See. In reality. Together. Always. All. The. Time.
We are totally in sync. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time. We wake up and go to sleep at the same time. When I read, he reads. When he watches a movie, I watch a movie. We do it this way, well, because there’s no other way to do it. When your living in a 5m by 2m squared space it’s hard to do anything different.
There is no privacy, ever. One of us can be cooking a meal, while the other is peeing half a metre away. We sleep in a bed 20cm wider than a single. Our feet touch the end, in a space that’s half a metre high. Every. Night. We literally sleep in a box.
We have no friends, so use each other as substitutes. We play two person drinking games and are each others wingman in clubs to slide our way in to existing groups. That’s normal. On occasion, we pretend to listen to each others chat. He listens to me talk about shopping, and hair treatments. I listen to him talk about surfing. Pretend chat.
Other than this our conversations might revolve around absolutely nothing. Sometimes we drive in the car for five hours with out saying a word. Try that. Try sitting in a room with one person and not say anything for five hours. Five hours.
The only time we actually spend apart is when we walk down separate aisles at the supermarket, or enter the guys and girls bathrooms at the gas station. The supermarket aisle gives us about 10-20 seconds of alone time. And the gas station toilets, well thats a little longer.
We are now at the point where its strange to be alone. We figured this out when the nervous panics began at Tesco’s. Oh. God. Where. Did. They. Go.
For a few hours a day we let ourselves outside to explore, yet the strangeness of the big wide world forces us to cling to the one person we know. We retreat back to the van and our pointless chat. It may be small but its home. Home.
People post travelling photos all the time. They may look like they are alone in the photo but I know they are not. As an outsider looking at the photo, it’s hard to imagine the person on the other side of the lens. But when you are the one having your photo taken, the person on the other side of the lens is all you can see. All you can see.
This is what I have come to love. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Us. Together. Always. All. The. Time.