I’m heading into 2011.
And I’m heading South…to South America.
It’s been nearly two years since I returned to the United States after traveling on my own around the world for 2 ½ years or so. Wow. Two years already?! A lot has happened in that time and much of it unexpected – proving to me yet again, that we can’t control everything and you just never know what’s around the bend…unless you go take a peek yourself.
I’m on my way to Colombia.
As I set out to travel solo again, I’m reminded of some main ideas that helped me the first time.
As I sat in the US longer and longer, I was getting more comfortable and rarely, if ever, outside of any comfort zone. Traveling solo is all about being out of my comfort zone. From simply being a stranger in a strange land, the moment I arrive…I am always slightly uncomfortable. But this is not a bad thing. It means I’m alive. I’m growing. I’m learning. Everything has a heightened sense of awareness…because it has to. I don’t have the luxury of floating around almost blind like I can in the US by virtue of familiarity. Being in a foreign environment, you are not afforded the luxury of knowing how to unconsciously do something or understand something. Out in the world everything is new, everything is different. I have to pay attention. I have to be alert. I have to think. I have to translate. I have to convert. And I have to do it all myself. And I like this feeling. Often when I am with someone else, I’m not as alert or sharp because I don’t have to be and I can kind of turn my brain off which is sometimes nice too. But I like to know that I can handle myself in the world and get where I need to be…mostly unscathed.
When I was traveling around the world, I was truly solo. I was single. I so enjoyed my feeling of independence and even more, I appreciated many times, the feeling of NOT missing a ‘special someone’ . I didn’t want to spend my time away, pining away for someone back home. I didn’t want to gaze at romantic sights wishing I was sharing it with a a loved one. And I never felt this. I know myself and when I am in a relationship, I tend to lose myself a bit and my thoughts become preoccupied with my partner. I was happy that I did not have to worry about this and could travel freely without worry.
Since I’ve returned…well, that unexpected thing I mentioned at the beginning? I fell in love. So the main difference for me this time away is that although I travel alone, I am not alone. I am attached.
Will travel be different? Will I wish he was by my side at every turn? Will I cry into my hotel pillow and just wish I was back home where things are safe and expected? I am kind of excited to see how I feel this time and am hoping the answer is no. And I can continue my solo travels for as long as I love them.
What about you? How do you travel and not miss loved ones? How do you keep feeling great about solo travel?