I wrote this over a month ago, sitting in my guest house in Vientiane:
I’m on my own again.
It’s so funny, when I first planned out this trip, up until just a month or two before leaving, I always thought I’d be doing it alone. I was okay with that, even excited for it. Well, life intervened in weird and wonderful ways. I was able to convince my friend Liz to go to Australia with me, and then I fell in love . As a result, I’ve been travelling in either a couple or a pair for the last 4 months straight!
I’m happy things worked out the way they did. It’s been great to have someone to share the high andlow points with. Still, there have also been times when I’ve been close to crawling up the wall with desire for some alone time. You know, to be abe to sleep in, or walk around, or even grab a bite to eat without having to consult with someone else. When you travel together the level of codependency that evolvesbetween two people is just absurd.
So now I’m alone again, and it just feels WEIRD. Mike is back at work in China, Liz is acutally meeting up with me for a couple days in Vang Vieng but then she’s off to Europe. There’s nobody to joke with, nobody to watch my stuff when I go pee and nobody to help me decide what to order for dinner! I’m a capable person, I swear. I’m just really out of practice.
Eesh. Looking back now I can see how nervous I was. As nervous as I probably was at the start of this trip. I’d grown so reliant on other people to entertain me, shoulder the burdens and ask for directions (I HATE asking for directions, I don’t know why, it’s a phobia).
The anticipation of something is always so much better or worse than the actual doing. As soon as I got moving I was fine. I kicked things off with a 24-hour bus ride to Laos, then reaquanted myself with the skills of eating alone, navigating a map an negotiating guest house fees. It wasn’t all that hard, once I quit worrying and just did it.
It actually turned out to be pretty fun! I meet more people when I’m alone; I end up with weirder stories. I got lots of massages and slept through breakfast without feeling guilty. I pretty much did whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and while sometimes I felt terribly lonely, it wasn’t half bad.
Yet, here I am once again. Been hanging out with the boyfriend for almost a month now and it’s been lovely. I’m headed off to Hong Kong this weekend, on my own, and the butterflies are back. It’s silly I know, but there’s something about putting myself out there that’s nerve-wracking.
I think it’s health though: the being nervous AND the doing it anyways. Solo travel can really force you out of your comfort zone. Personally it makes me deal with my weird social anxiety quirks head on.
While I love that I have awesome people that I can share my adventures with, their will always be a place in my life for solo travel. It’s only when everything else is quiet that I can actually here the voices in my own head. I can find my balance.