Alone, but not lonely: this is something I’m learning to figure out.
I’ve always thought I had mastered this though. I mean, I’ve always enjoyed my alone time. In fact, I need it. I thrive off of it! And for the last two years before travelling I was living on my own! And so content with it. I truly thought I was the queen of spending time with myself.
What a reality check this has been! I went from travelling with my best friend and having absolutely no time to myself, to – fast forward 2 months – really wishing I had someone along side me. I was seriously craving alone time like no other during the first month of the trip, and was incredibly relived when I got it. And after a good reset at the start of my time solo travelling, I was happy to meet other travellers along the way. And I definitely met some really awesome people! I spend some awesome days in Melacca with Lukas, a seriously cool guy that I really connected with from Germany. When I made my way to Bali I met two girls (one right after the other), Lindsey from Lethbridge and Chloe from England, that I think will stick around for a while (at least through technology until we can meet again!). And shortly after parting ways with Chloe in Thailand I was with my parents! But even though I had the company of my parents I spent the majority of days in bed trying to get rest and feel better – so not a ton of time with them unfortunately. And when I finally was headed to recovery, my parents left! And I spent another two weeks in bed finishing off my meds and hanging out in bed for the majority of my days. I did meet a few people though, Kirk and Trisha, and Josh and Brianna!??!?!?!?!?, all from the states and had their company on New Years which was great! And after that I made my way to Myanmar: a country not too popular yet with tourists!
I was really excited for this fact as Thailand was absurdly over touristy, and in that I feel that the Thai culture is really lost. But now that I’m here I’m realizing what that really means: as cool as it is that the culture is really raw and authentic by lack of foreigners, that also means that there aren’t so many people to meet. And anyone I have met has been a totally different path from me (except for the crazy French girl)! Like Vadim, he was only here for a visa run! A couple of girls in Mandalay (I don’t even think I got their names!), we exchanged some very pleasant conversations but were headed off to different destinations shortly after. Myitkyna is a place that is not on the path of many travelling to Myanmar as it is super far north and close to the cut off for foreign traveler access due to ethnic fighting just north of it! But very thankfully I was lucky to meet the extremely friendly Jeremy and James from Australia. We shared (too many?) drinks with and a couple of meals, and I had a blast with them. But minus Lindsey and Chloe, these have all been so short lived! I keep hoping to meet someone to spend some real time with. To really get to know and like, in fact!
At the end of the day, I’m experiencing really cool things, but that only goes so far when you’re not able to share it with anyone.
With all that being said, I am content to read and write and look out the window for hours uninterrupted on the train. I am happy to be carried by my feet that are taking me wherever the heck they want to go! I am loving interacting with the locals and trying to have very awkwardly horrible conversations with them (not many people speak English here!). I am thankful to be able to eat lunch at 3pm or go to bet at 9pm. I am delighted by the freedom to head in whichever direction that calls me loudest. I am excited by the opportunity to hop on ridiculously long planes without a second thought, and splurge on a plane ticket when I’ve decided I’ve had enough of that. And I would absolutely rather be alone than with company that does not mesh well with me or my travel style, make me happy, or make me feel loved. So maybe I am still at least a tiny bit the master of being alone?
I think it also doesn’t help that I am so utterly excited and delighted that Dan is coming to meet me in 4 weeks and 5 days! I am so in love with him, and we are doing so well with our relationship, despite the distance. But to have him here with me in person!?!?!?! I still can’t believe it. My dreams are coming true! And this is a blessing and a curse, love cripples and it cures: I know that the weeks that I have with him will be so full of love and adventure and happiness. And with that on the horizon, it’s making the wait a little bit lonelier. Do I wish that he wasn’t coming? No, of course not! But it is making these days a little bit harder.
Even though it is a bit of a struggle, I know that this is just part of the personal growth of this trip. And I am absolutely enjoying this trip, don’t get me wrong! I am so happy to be here, and considering the contrary (home) isn’t even an option. I am learning. I am growing. I am thankful of the company I’m getting along the way, and navigating the foreign loneliness that seems to be coming in the times between.