The post that’s travelling very solo

Greetings from Ecuador!

How have you been? It’s been over a month since I last posted, but hey, we knew this might happen.

I thought I’d check in to let you know I’m still alive. A lot has changed over the last month.

I’ve been meeting much fewer people. I don’t know why. Consequently, I’m feeling much more alone.

And much more like a solo traveller.

The first month and a half, sure, I had times when I was alone and doing things by myself. But never for very long and therefore relished and enjoyed those times.

But now, it’s the opposite, pretty much. I can only think of a handful of times over the last month where I haven’t eaten alone. Or done a tour by myself. Or gone for a beer with people.

I think it might be a combination of factors. Firstly, losing all my photos knocked me for six. That’s an absolute fact. I’ve not really been the same since.

Then I think there’s an element of misfortune where I haven’t met people who are willing to let a stranger into their group. Or if I have, then they (or I) are moving on straight away. That’s happened a few times.

It’s annoying when you click with people but then don’t have chance to enjoy their company. Again, that’s just unlucky.

Then there’s me. I’m a part of the reason why I’ve not been meeting as many people.

It’s like a vicious circle. The less I meet people, the less I have the confidence to meet people, and the less I feel like I want to do it or have the energy to strike up a conversation.

As someone who’s largely an introvert, I find that hard and very tiring. Particularly to have to do it so often. It’s energy sapping to me. Even though it’s to my benefit.

On the other hand, a confession: there have been times when I’ve gone to dinner or had drinks with people who I didn’t even really like. Just because I couldn’t face another meal or night in alone.

It’s kind of pathetic but it made me understand why people stay with their boyfriend or girlfriend, even though they don’t get on. They’d rather be with someone they don’t actually like that much than be by themselves.

I never understood that before, but now I can see how someone might feel that way.

So I’m not blameless in this current social slump. I wonder if I’m giving off a whiff of desperation and trying too hard when I meet people.

This is a thought that I really don’t like. They might be picking up on that, and we all know it’s a highly unattractive quality.

As someone who has prided himself on not needing people, the idea that I’m subconsciously exuding desperation and seeking approval, well, I don’t like it one bit.

The good news is that things can change quickly as you never know who or what is waiting for you in the next hostel.

And anyway, I know from talking to travellers that I’m not alone (oh, the irony!) in feeling like this when backpacking. It happens to most solo travellers at some point.

When it does happen, you start to think about your friends back home and wish they were with you.

You also start to notice all the couples. Latin America is very big on public displays of affection too, which means the reminders of your loneliness are frequent and strongly felt.

I guess it’s all part of the experience. It’s not a holiday, where every day is amazing. You can’t have amazing days every day for nearly three months.

Backpacking doesn’t work like that.

Hopefully, writing all this down will help in the therapeutic way in which it usually does.

Here’s to making the final five weeks of my trip, absolutely ruddy marvelous.

Cheers.

N x

The post that’s dealing with challenges

Well, hello there. Hello from the capital of Bolivia, La Paz.

It’s been a rough few days and I’m taking this opportunity to post because it’s pouring with rain outside and I’m bored.

Three days ago I lost my passport, camera with all my photos on from 6 weeks of South America, mp3 player and loads of other little things.

The only thing I give two shits about is my camera. Once in a lifetime photos of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced in my life. Gone. Forever.

I’d be lying if I said I was anything but completely devastated.

I’ve gone through the stages of grievance and I’m trying to accept what’s done is done but I’m really struggling.

I’ve bought a new camera so I can start again.

I have been mentally beating myself up about this since it happened because it’s completely my fault. A lapse in concentration and I was punished in the harshest way possible.

I’ve not slept well since it happened and I don’t know whether to cry or bash my head against a brick wall.

I suspect neither will help.

I just have to keep moving on. Physically and mentally and emotionally.

I’m trying to find some perspective. I have my health, I have my phone, access to money and the memories.

I still feel like a complete fucking idiot. Ashamed and embarrassed. I hope I read this back one day and these feelings will be a distant memory.

I’ve got Peru and Machu Picchu coming up so there’s plenty to look forward to.

In other news, the previous week was fantastic. I met a group of people who I became really close with. I didn’t want to leave them and, pleasantly, they didn’t want me to leave.

But I have so much ground to cover between now and July that I had to go.

My reasoning being I don’t want my trip to be ruled by the people I meet en route. Everyone you meet is moving; whether it’s tomorrow or next month. So, to get attached to people isn’t necessarily a great idea.

I did get attached and it was a real wrench to leave.

Right, so that’s anger, depression and sadness all covered in this post. Excellent. Good work.

Despite all of this, South America is officially my favourite part of the world.

I was thinking last night, despite all my woes and troubles, would I rather still be at home, back in London being generally miserable and not experiencing life and what the world has to offer?

The answer was absolutely not.

So, ya know, there’s that.

Let’s hope some better things are coming my way and that I get over my loss quickly.

As always, I hope you are all doing well.

N x

The post that’s seeing possibilities

Do you know what the best thing is about travelling?

You do? Oh, we’ll knock this post on the head now then.

See you later.

No, but seriously though.

There are obviously loads of brilliant things about travelling. And I think that can change from person to person.

What’s great for one person might not be for someone else.

Maybe that’s obvious.

I’m almost a month into my trip now and the sheer range of people I’ve met so far is just so massively eye opening.

I’ve met dozens and dozens of people, male and female, straight and gay, between 18 and into their 50s, from countless different countries, on everything from 2 week holidays to epic 18 month round the world trips.

And they’ve all got their own reason for travelling. And they’ve all got their own version of themselves back in their homeland.

They’ve all got different jobs. Different circumstances. Different ambitions. Different pasts.

Some of them you’re happy to never see again, some you instantly click with and you’re gutted you’re travelling in different directions, and some you are glad you had a night with but know that’s probably enough.

And when I talk to these people, everything they tell me about themselves feeds into my mind.

It’s like my brain is a sponge and I’m absorbing it all.

Then it’s like there’s this filter, and all the information is pouring in, in vast quantities, and my mind rifles through it and decides what’s interesting, what’s useful, what can help me, what’s a great story, what’s amazing, what’s funny, and so on.

The rest gets discarded. But it all gets considered.

At the moment, I’m being exposed to so much information from so many people on a near enough daily basis.

And I can’t help but be amazed.

It makes you realise what is going on in the world. Who’s doing what. All these people doing incredible things.

‘Incredible’ in the subjective sense.

And it makes you consider your own life and why you live it the way you do.

Hearing all these people’s stories, it makes me realise the pointlessness of my pre travel existence.

The utter banality of it. And then I did something daft and had a quick look on Facebook.

Same thing. Pointlessness. That was all I saw. Pictures of food. People moaning about the weather and traffic.

When you’re not in that world anymore, as I’m not at the moment, and you’re able to look at it from a distance, it really makes you think.

I’m not having a go at those people’s lives, if they’re having fun, carry on.

But I don’t know, right now, if I can return to that world.

So, the title of this post is about possibilities. And it’s impossible not to consider the possibilities the future could hold.

Not when you’re being bombarded with all this exposure to what the rest of the world is up to.

You end up saying to yourself:

Wow, maybe I could do that.

And this could be about something specific or something general.

It’s like, oh my god, people are actually doing this thing! Then something that, in your head, had seemed a bit of a fairy tale suddenly becomes a lot more plausible.

You develop much more of a ‘fuck it’ attitude.

So far, I’m having such a good time. I’m so content right now, that I don’t even feel the need to shout about here or on any social network. I’m happy to just let it be without uploading my life onto a machine.

“If I hadn’t seen such riches, I could live with being poor” – Lyric from the song Sit Down by James. It couldn’t be more apt.

Anyway, here’s to possibilities.

Cheers.

N x

The post that wants the next place

I’ve got a bit of down time so I thought I’d check in. It’s only been 9 days since my last post, so this is pretty good going!

It’s the night before I move on to my next city. The hostel I’m staying in is a bit shit. And the people just aren’t my kind of people.

I sat down to chat with the some of the other people staying here last night and they were either:

A) not interested in talking to me
B) too stoned and into drugs to get any words out of

Which was a shame. I’ve had no trouble meeting and talking to people so far but this lot are very cliquey.

It’s a shame, especially when you feel like you’re making a big effort to get to know them and ask them about their travels and stuff. And you’re getting like one word answers or grunts, totally bereft of any enthusiasm.

This hostel was a bit cheaper than some of the others I’ve been using, so maybe they attract a different type of backpacker. Twats, if you will.

I think the people I meet has a big impact on how enjoyable my stays are in each place.

I’m still loving it though. The fact this place has weirdos in it won’t inhibit that.

I have to be up early (and despite temperatures being in the mid to high 30s nearly every day, I have managed to catch a bit of a cold), so there are my excuses for going to bed at 10:30 when others are still up.

I suppose that’s the good thing about travelling solo. You don’t like somewhere, be it a hostel or a city, you can just leave. And that’s that.

Also, if people don’t like you, it literally doesn’t matter, because you’ll never see them again and what they think of you is completely irrelevant. They probably couldn’t give two shits that I think they’re boring arses either, so it works both ways.

So tomorrow is another day, another city, another hostel and another set of people. Let’s see what they bring.

That’s enough about me, I hope you’re all doing well!

N x

PS – I’ve just re-read this. It doesn’t sound like I’ve done anything. I really have seen some amazing, amazing sights and had some great nights. But I don’t want this blog to read like a holiday postcard. Hence the above content.

The post that’s a million mental miles away

Hello from Argentina!

I’ve got 6 hours to kill until I have a flight to catch and it’s hammering with rain today so I thought why not write a (very) little post.

So my trip is 6 days old now and I feel like the worries and stresses and strains of pre trip are a million, billion, trillion miles away.

It’s so nice to be away. Physically and mentally.

My only concerns here are, what shall I do today? What shall I have for dinner? Where shall I go tomorrow?

Just being completely removed from ‘home’ life and the daily monotony of work and people and all the rest of it is bliss.

It’s like someone flicked a switch and, bang, I have another life now. For as long as I’m travelling, I have another life.

Gotta love escapism. The ultimate act of escapism for me. Yes, it’s not forever, but while I’m here I can pretend it is!

I’m not intending for this to be a bragging, boasting update. There have been stressful moments and it’s not all plain sailing. There are definitely challenges.

Bit they are different to the usual ones that crop up in daily life. I prefer them.

So far, I’ve met some cool people too. Very important. Hope that continues.

Anyway, that’s it from me for now. My phone is doing weird shit and making it hard to type.

I hope you are doing well! I’m going to read some of your blogs now since I still have an hour and  half to kill before I go again.

N x