On Travel and Oversharing

Johanna Sommer
4 min readJul 9, 2022


I have found myself, once again, in travel’s limbo and fighting feeling like an open wound. Right now I would maybe compare my heart to that of a bruised plum. Or at least this is what I imagine it resembles, coming undone as a leak oozes from a tender, fleshy spot, one that might perfectly fit the curve of your thumb. Here is my attempt to reconcile this restlessness in the Charlotte airport, several states removed from everyone I love. My apologies for wanton self-pity in advance, for I am just sad today.

My step brother reaching for me thru my mother’s favorite tree. I like how the leaves on the left side look like the reflection of a tree on a lake. A little muddled and warped.

I wish life was not just leaving one person after another. I feel I have no choice but to be a nomad. From a factual standpoint, everyone I love lives around an 8–10 hour journey away from one another. I will be disassociating thru nine hour train rides and batches of flights for years to come, and I am sure I will only exasperate the problem in the life choices I make. After all, I am my mother’s daughter.

At the same time, I cannot stay put for more than a few hours when I am stationary anyway. I am calibrated to some inconvenient pace that forces my walking, walking, walking towards nothing but an attempt at stability and to cope. I fear I may end up walking right thru my life.

I think I am followed by bees (B’s specifically). Bermuda has these crazy trees with the most vibrant orange flowers, and my mother points to them as one of the reasons she has found some joy there. They look much more pink in this image, but they are carrot-orange I promise.

I am doomed to repeat, I think, for after I wandered the whole airport looking for a place to sit I wound up in the same place I sat six months ago nearly to the day. It was here I decided to get my right eyebrow pierced, and here that I think I must commit to my first tattoo. I keep carving away at myself in the hopes I will heal more beautifully. Instead I continue to fester, accumulating grime that I cannot scrub clean. I believe this accumulation to be beautiful as well, don’t get me wrong, I just hope you do too.

This is from my roof where I sit and smoke and read like a stupid fucking Sofia Coppola protagonist.

And I always kind of feel like I could throw up. Oh, to be young, sexy, and suffering. Do I sound like Elizabeth Wurtzel? I woke up in the middle of the night last night convinced that bile was swirling my teeth, like has happened in the past (once from Nyquil, twice from rosé), but it was a false alarm, and I was so relieved. In my head this banishing seems like a good, pristine solution, though I know all that I wish to throw up would not be expelled, but rather continue to line my soft insides without remorse. This leaves me no other option other than to take Tums and pray.

From my train ride home the first time I went to the city this summer. The preferred mode of transportation.

Can you tell I am 20-years-old? I keep coming back to how I have so much love but cannot feel it. What does that even mean? Am I so blessed that I am simultaneously cursed? Like when wealthy people can no longer feel the positive effects of money- I am rich of love! I have built a tolerance that has grown into a wall I cannot climb. I exhaust myself daily.

The dead trees along the campus loop, which I looped and looped with abandon. I am continuously reminded of a line in a Yeats poem (“I am looped in the loops of her hair”) whenever I think of this space.

What can I say to reassure you, dear reader, and myself. Hmmmm. It is true that no stage or feeling is permanent, though this does not explain how some unwanted feelings return much more often than others that are wanted. This is an unnatural period, I also realize. To set up a home and leave it just to return to where you have felt the most stunted and the most naive. This will not last, which brings comfort.

Sailin’ On by Bad Brains: “How will we know when there is nowhere to grow/ And what’s the facts for life to show.” I wish to be eager and porous, full of gooey wonder. However, I am beautiful and precarious, which for now must be enough. Pulling out eyelashes for a wish. & lastly: “I refused to believe that dissimulation was more virtuous than honesty.”



Johanna Sommer

I would love to write about anything other than love it's just I never learned how