Traveling Alone Again, Naturally
I don’t know about you lot, but I’m not the best at traveling by myself, at least, not for more than a week or so. After that, despite staying with friends, the going out by myself most of the time bit tends to get to me. I start to feel isolated, shy, lonely. I see all the other people out and about with someone else, and I start to feel like a bit of a Nigel-no-mates. Three weeks in to my travels and I’m definitely having those moments – heightened solitary single moments – not every day, but they’re there. And it’s not enough to stop me wanting to travel – I’d rather travel alone than not at all, but still – they have the power to pull me down which can be both depressing and annoying. Yesterday I went into a beautiful bookshop and wanted to take photos but was overcome with shyness and stupid bloody inadequacy and crept quietly out instead. Grrr. I’ll have to go back. It’s also annoying because one of the main points of the trip has been to have the space and time and quiet to write something I’ve had in mind for ages, and instead I’ve been a fidgety mess and no matter how I try the words ain’t coming, or if they do, they’re slow. It’s as if they’re a sullen teenager hiding under a duvet in a dark room and if I do get them to come out they’re determined to be crap and uncooperative. So instead I’m writing other things, or journaling, which is fine, but not what I want to be working on.
I think part of the problem is that I’ve been planning and imagining these travels for so long, and in my imagination I was calm and inspired and happily seeing things and meeting people and writing writing writing. Instead I’ve been hit by the reality stick.
I’ve read a few things this week that have helped with the lonesomeness a bit. I guess my radar’s been up for them, like the way when you like a boy all of a sudden you see and hear his name everywhere – instead of that I’ve been seeing tips for traveling/being alone all over the shop.
My fave is this amazing video by Tanya Davis and Andrea Dorfman – it’s just ridiculously good and funny and reassuring.
This article on traveling solo, never alone has some great tips, particularly about traveling solo as a writer.
Pip wrote a fab post about shyness and the art of saying hi, that reminded me to fight against the shrinking instinct and trust that others will respond well if I say hi. Friendliness is usually responded to with friendliness, yes?
I kind of like these words too:
Cherish your solitude. Take trains by yourself to places you have never been. Sleep out alone under the stars … Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back.
Thanks Eve Ensler. I’m kind of over cherishing my solitude, but I’ll give it another crack, okay?
Next post? A shiny, fab visit to somewhere fun, yes indeedy. xo