I really love to date. I just love it! It’s such a treat to learn new people and explore their habits, preferences, and rhythms. Whole new realities unfold before you, and you get to learn where and whether you fit in.

Travel is the same for me. When I’m in a new place, I relish the barrage of new information, sights, and sensations. How do people here eat, structure their days, interact with their environment? What keeps them here? What repels them?

Here in the desert, I’m enjoying the rhythm of the weather—too severe for activity during certain hours, tolerable with caution during others—mountainous horizons, signage, and business names with bald simplicity or Mexican flair. Joe’s Cactus Grill in its playful block serif. Tacos El Patrón in vibrant glowing red. A still-functioning Sinclair station in a block of midcentury budget motels. Desert Dental in an unassuming strip mall, designed to attract as little heat as possible.

Each day, I understand slightly more about the place and how to function well within it, the same way you gain clarity about a person with each date or conversation.

I may not stay long enough to learn the warts or secret gems of a place, like that bar high above the harbor or the unreasonably heavy traffic on Thursday afternoons in San Diego, like his condescending family or spectacular rendition of Mr. Grinch, but I’ll get exposure to so many different ways to live, the same way dating exposes me to many different ways to be.

I’m excited to find my own rhythms on the road and learn how much time is right to spend in a place. It’ll be an interesting balance between novelty and intimacy, which is by no means a formula I’ve mastered in romance. It’s all a lot of trial and error—and striving for impossible combinations. If I’m being honest, I want everything. I thirst for the deep knowledge of intimacy and the broad experience of exploration in equal measure.

Maybe I want too much. But I’ll keep looking, keep hoping that someday I’ll find balance.

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