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.