I’ve written and re-written this post a butt-load of times. And all that I read is “Boo hoo, poor me, I’m not at home.” After typing and deleting, and typing again I’ve finally gotten over my poor sob story of “I miss home”. Shut up, Me, I’m traveling.
The first couple weeks of travel is tough. Especially as a solo traveler.
Actually, let me take a step back. The first time I traveled solo was when I moved to Japan. I bawled my eyes out and told my dad, “I’m scared” as he held me tight and told me to be brave. Fast forward to a month ago, 2 years after I first left on my big solo trip. It was a simple hug and kiss from my parents, and a “Peace out, I’ll be back when I run out of money.” And my mom was like, “Yeah, you gotta do this when you’re young.” And I was like, “Cool, mom, thanks for the support. Love ya,” then got on my plane as if I was going to work and will be back for supper the next day. Don’t wait up, Ma.
Now I’ve been on the road for a little over a month. I’ll admit that it’s a big bag of emotions that suffocate you and blind you to the point that you hardly remember the cool sites that you saw that day. Emotions that have you stuck to your social media, reminiscing on times with friends and leaving you with a bad case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Don’t worry. That shit passes. (Hint: stay off social media).
It passes when you realize that this is what you’ve always wanted and now here you are. Doing it. It’s not my first time traveling long term, but the transition was different the last time. I was gone so long that I couldn’t give two shits what everyone else was doing back home. Plus I had a job and something to focus on, like learning Japanese (it took all my concentration).
I took a 6 month break in between travels and let me tell you, it was way too long. It was long enough to forget everything I had gained from being abroad: my confidence, my drive, my fearlessness– it all diminished as I transitioned myself back into the “real life” of work, pay bills, watch Netflix, drink, repeat lifestyle.
Sure, I was a dumb lonely bucket of emotions, but I’ve gotten over that, and you will too. It just takes time as you continue to push yourself. Because you soon realize that no one is going to invite you to go out, you have to go out on your own; no one is going to suggest a place to go eat for you, you’ve got to find your own food; no one, not even the trusty ol’ internet machine, is going to help you when you’re standing at the bus terminal unsure of where to go, unless you ask. It’s you and only you, baby.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you really want something, go for it. Do it. Even if it breaks your heart to see the people you love and admire continue to do their daily activities without you. Whether it’s to travel, like myself, or to be a life coach, or a sexy DJ, just because no one else is doing the same thing that you are, doesn’t mean that you should pause your dreams.
Let’s put it this way: Life is short and we don’t have time to wait for the approval of others or for others to get on the same level as us. If you’re like me and you want something bad enough, the fear and loneliness that comes with pursuing your dream will dissipate and you’ll be left with a drive that tells you to keep going and friends that support you.
Since being back on the road I’ve visited beaches, drank with locals, danced salsa, taken a vast amount of bus rides, eaten so much beans and rice, rode horses, was kissed/sucked on by an old man with no shirt on (be jealous), eaten the best ceviche in the world, went three full days without speaking English, went three full days without sleeping in a bed, and I haven’t been in one place for more than 2 nights. Maybe these aren’t enviable qualities, but travel is such an adventure that even in the miserable times, the most interesting stories are told. And that’s all I want to do: tell a good story.
So, what story are you going to tell?