Travelling solo is just amazing in so many ways. Being on the road where you get to decide what you’re doing, where you’ll be going and what you want to get done is incredibly freeing. Just living out your backpack, spending little and embracing the simplicity of it all. There are no discussions, arguments or other unsavoury opinions as to what you’ll eat or where you’ll go or how you’ll get there- or that’s what I initially thought. Everything is new and exotic and it’s up to you whether you’ll force yourself to make friends, eat weird and wonderful concoctions and get outside of your bubble.
That being said, being a bit of a travelling-on-a-shoe-string-climber-dirtbag means that you come to rely on the charity and love of others (something that I’ve been so lucky to have). Nonetheless, I’ve come to understand that there are serious limitations and uncertainties that you never truly appreciate before you set sail for a foreign land.
First of all, I have the luxury of being FUNemployed. Prior to leaving, I worked hard, scrabbled together enough cash and found new and interesting ways to do trips such as the one I’m on at this very moment. On the surface, I’m free of all responsibilities. No kids, no debt, no nothing! These things are true and I’m trying to keep it that way, however, being a climber means you need others to climb with (we’re not all Alex Honnold’ing around here!). This doesn’t even include the radness of travelling with others and sharing experiences with others. This example is pretty much, either you climb or you don’t.
The funny thing is that when you get into this “ME-MENTALITY” whereby I’m travelling alone, I’ll have a lot of time in my head to ponder and build idealistic expectations- I’ll unintentionally get myself into a frame of mind that is rather self-centred. This attitude is problematic when people bail, plans are turned on their heads and you are left living a nomadic life of uncertainty.
The emotional strain of dealing with these setbacks can be immensely annoying and draining. The wind can be taken out of your sails and the yearning for certainty builds up in a “why-me” pityfest!
This is a lesson to myself (and any travelling globetrotters):
Life isn’t fair and nor should it be. People have their own lives and that’s how it is! BUT, and this is a big but… my perception as to HOW I will respond to let-downs and insecurity is what makes travel so very wonderful. Once you have “security”, the fun goes away, the learning stops and the train comes to a halt. Life is short and there are far too many things to be seen, smelt, and stumbled upon. These things that give you a good teaching never really come or are necessarily appreciated when you follow a perfectly planned itinerary. The ways in which we deal with adversity and how we adapt to the rug being pulled from under us is a venue in which we can either grow or call it a day.
As Yvon Chouinard once said, “when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts…”