So, I made a big deal about being a solo traveller for chapter 1 (The Asia edition) of my adventure. When I hit the road for the first time it seemed like a lonely life ahead. I was totally wrong, being on your own isn’t hard at all. Life without another is the simple life, albeit a selfish one, it’s fulfilling and totally easy. The real self-discovery begins when you choose to give up total independence and share your adventure with another and spend an inordinate amount of time with a single person.
I’ve done this, taken the huge step (for me) and hopped in a van with a a fellow traveller. We barely knew each other, after a chance meeting on a boat trip in Indonesia, then a whirlwind 32 hours together (slightly drunk and high on life) in Bali. We’re now sharing our adventure through Australia, in a van, totally isolated from ‘real life’.
I find this harder than most. Back home I have my own house, my own space, my own bed, my career, my car, my bat my ball = my rules. I need quiet time, time to gather my thoughts, self-reflect, make my own decisions and to really be myself. Learning to do all this with another person by my side is challenging and at points wrecks my head. I have a lot of work still to do, I know this now. I can’t talk for days on end, I can’t sleep soundly at night, I can’t get the balance of independence and compromise. I’m working hard to be at peace with myself and just trust that my opinions are valid.
I can’t let go of past pain all that easily and erase my sensitivities but I’m trying. The circus in my head is sometimes overwhelming. It only shuts up when I write or throw myself into the sea. It’s possible that I’m just a basket case but there’s something inside of me telling me to keep going, this is just another lesson. I need to overcome the fear of relying on or being with another or at some point I will either find myself living on my own in a cave or reach my 60s with no family of my own, just cats, millions of them, child replacements that I’ll treat as humans and get found dead with them eating my face – that happened to one woman right, or was it dogs?!
I’m 9 nine days in and I’m just keeping my head above water. We have fun times and we have stressful times. Sleep deprivation, mild starvation, claustrophobia and extreme temperatures are probably enough to test most people to their limits. I know without question that I’m learning, learning about myself in the reflection of another.
My saving grace in this situation is that my ‘travelling companion’ happens to be one of the most fascinating and talented people I’ve ever met. He’s a born performer, but usually a humble one and he teaches me lots. He isn’t faultless by any means and we’re both stubborn and sensitive. I challenge two humans to get on without cross words in these conditions. Boredom isn’t an issue, I just need to learn to let down my barriers, let go of my past and find that bloody key to unlock myself and move forwards.
I don’t want to look back with any regrets and I know if I just stop thinking and run with it, this experience could be life-changing for me.