Friday, July 15, 2022

Dicks, man. Dicks are everywhere.

Dicks, man. Dicks are everywhere.

I’m sitting here in the café of The Icelandic Phallological Museum, sipping my “Icelandic Penis Ale?” and listening to oh-so-smooth jazz. Because of course I am.

This place is classy as hell, even though it has more versions of penis’ (is that how you plural multiple penis at once? Seriously asking), in every shape and form throughout history, then I ever thought I would be exposed to. Like, ever.

But, this is really typical. I’ve only been in Reykjavík for two hours and already adventuring into the unknown.

But this entry is more than just what I’m doing now. It just so happens that this story starts with dicks.

Because everyone here is having a blast, laughing and playing along. I mean, an ENTIRE museum and cafe dedicated to dicks is ABSOLUTELY HILLARIOUS. The old couple that just went in followed by the screaming kids (yep, all ages here, folks!) all are having the time of their lives right now.

But…and this is where this will veer into the serious for a hot minute...I’m not having as much fun as I should. I should be channeling my inner child right now.

Instead, I’m here in the cafe typing away on a computer - a very solitary act instead of giggling, making a billion inappropriate jokes, and pointing at funny dicks with someone.

So, real quick. Story time. I’ve told very few people about this, but I’ll let the cat out of the bag in a nut shell (no pun intended).

After my adventure in Nepal six years ago with Lakpa, I went to Indonesia and hung out in Bali. I was there for a good 3 or 4 days and I haven’t really told anyone about it. I mean, it has come up in so very few stories and I never wrote an entry on this website for the time period either. But why, you might ask?

Because, for the first time in perhaps a dozen different countries across multiple different continents and dozens of years, I felt…what I can only describe as the immense feeling of being lonely. I felt alone. It wasn’t the first time I wanted to turn to someone next to me and say, “holy shit, dude! Isn’t this cool!” But it’s always been sort of okay because I had plenty of fellow traveler friends to bounce things off of.

But that was the first time I felt like when I went back home, I would utterly lose all those memories I made. Solo traveling is inherently selfish and inward, I get that. I’ve thought I’ve made peace with that. Sure, you meet cool people and new friends and then it’s suddenly not selfish anymore. You’re sharing memories! Come on now, that’s my favorite part of traveling by far.

Then something happens. Something that always happens. And here’s the deal: at the end of the trip(s), they go back home and so do you.

And just like that, you no longer have a shared story with anyone around you when you inevitably come back home. You can’t reminisce with friends at a party about a shared experience. Instead you always have to end each story with “you’d had to have been there." You can’t joke and laugh and cry and feel with your friends and family back home because the stories and memories are only in your head and shareable with those that experienced them with you. 2nd person adventure stories usually suck and are no fun. And that’s where they stay because you don’t want to always be that asshole bringing up exotic stories that people get tired of reallllll quick.

So I went to Bali. I had some adventures there with the people I shared them with. And I’ll never see them again to share those memories. End. Of. Story.

That was my last solo trip. Since then, I’ve only traveled with others. And I've loved it. Even if it flowed differently than a solo experience. But the key difference of this kind of travel compared to solo: after the travels were done, the stories and reminiscing were not.

So with all that said, I’m still typing away in an Icelandic dick museum. And I’m feeling that loneliness sorta, kinda, maybe creepin’ on in. Questions I can't stop begin to form, like:

-Why am I doing this by myself?

-Am I the same person I was in my late 20s when I did this?

-And if I’m not, what do I do about this new person?

-How do I convince that old part of me that this isn’t what I truly, 100% enjoy anymore? That I want to travel with those I love and are close to me more now?

-What is the travel experience, really, if you have no one to really share it with during and after it's done?

I’ve been traveling a lot in the last year or so with good company. And as much as I adore this trip right now, it's hard not to look forward to two additional trips I have this summer when I return with people I deeply care about in my life more than the current solo adventure. So, this...

This…I just don’t know, man.

At this moment in time, this is just me laughing at dick jokes by myself and, fun fact: I’m older than my last solo trip.

And, well, I think I’m getting old enough that solo travel maybe just isn't my jam anymore and I now just want to laugh at dick jokes with someone next to me.

Shared dick jokes with people I love and care about. If that’s not a telling sign of maturity, I don’t know what is.


  1. So reflective and absolute spot on! Traveling with someone or others really does put an extra something to the experience that is immeasurable. Iceland is on my bucket list and I can’t wait to share the “dick” museum with my husband😀. It will be one of those stories to share with others that’ll bring a bit of humor and laughter to the table from both of our perspectives.

  2. As someone who also loves solo travel, it can get lonely. I never thought about it through the lens of shared experiences, but you're right (yes, I know I said you're right.) As someone who has shared a lot of experiences with you, I know that you are also robbing someone of these moments too! I can't wait for you to find your forever travel partner (as long as she lets us hang out all the time).

  3. Oh Nick, reading you makes me miss our conversations so much, I met you as I was sort of travelling solo, I know exactly what you mean when you say that travels end, and the people in these travels go home, the memories and the feelings stay. They stay strong sometimes. I have so many possible answers for your questions and more questions for your questions, possible inappropriate dick comments too. I remember how much you love stories, I always thought that's why you always really travelled, I even thought at some point you loved meeting people because you wanted their stories. You're in Iceland, get their stories, meet people and feel the loneliness. Iceland is good for that, so vast and full of space, i guess it will be difficult to ignore. Would love to have our talks back, man!

    1. Ohhh, that hit me hard. I think, yeah, maybe I do travel for other people's stories more than my own. Maybe it is less about what I experience and more about what I absorb from those I meet. I hadn't really thought of that...And now that I've gotten out of the tourist zones of Iceland, it is much more isolating than I'm used to. No stories from anyone. No stories from me either though. Just...being. If that makes sense. And those talks, I loved them too. I'm always open, send any story or thought my way and I'd love to listen :)