What I’ve Learned From Travelling Alone

Entertaining Myself

I have spent hours upon hours waiting, training, busing, flying, walking and sitting without a mobile phone plan or WiFi. I have learned the art of entertaining myself silly. I have become an expert at passing time and honestly, I am so content doing it. Writing, reading, listening, Sudoku, people watching, thinking, sleeping are all some on my favourite past times. Mostly reading, writing and listening though. I’ve found myself being able to focus on things I’ve always wanted to learn about when I have this time. I listen to podcasts that make me think deeper and ones that inspire me. I write in order to, hopefully, improve my writing and document my thoughts, ideas and memories. It’s always felt good to write, whether it be in my journal or on WordPress but I never found time to do it. I am thankful for all of the waiting and lack of internet to distract me. It allows me to focus on different methods of entertainment, that I find are much healthier for my mind and allows me to put my creativity to use.

As always, thank the lord for music. Music has pulled me through, as it always does. It is the soundtrack to multiple of my experiences and gives me comfort. It’s also broken me to shambles. But that’s okay. I have so much time travelling from place to place that it allows my ears to give their full undivided attention to a new artist or album that I may not have given a chance before. It’s always a tough moment when my phone battery is too low for the music player to work and I am forced to continue my journey soundtrackless…….which has also made me realize that sometimes, silence is nice, but I don’t say that often.

Positive Thinking

If I can’t seize the moment and instead decide to dwell on the past I won’t make Ireland a happy, new place for myself. I’ve had slip ups with this and have gotten so absorbed in what I’m missing out on at home that it takes away from all of the opportunities that lay in front of me. Ultimately, my method of thinking is one of my only influences from day to day travelling alone and it’s been a test. When I left home I was on this high, I was so excited. It’s all I felt, other than a little bit of confusion in the back of my mind. But it’s not practical to keep that high up for months, even weeks. Soon it starts sinking in, oh shit, this is my new reality. I still need to set up a life here; friends, a job, a home and the life that happens in between, like a new favourite bookstore or the local bar. What’s it going to be? While I let it overwhelm me before and of course, as everyone does, still experience a rough patch here or there, I feel like I’m in a good place. I have found a balance between pressuring myself into achieving all of my goals at once and letting things fall into place as they should. I have accepted that things happen for a reason and that it’s going to take time before I feel at home here. I embrace my foreign feelings and think about Liv a year from now and know that she’ll be laughing. Positive thinking gets you further than negative thinking ever will. I’ve always been considered a positive person and I suppose this journey has been one big ol’ test to that.

 

Be Bold, Be Confident

Being confident and being bold have never been my defining attributes. Not to say that I have zero confidence or boldness, but it was never something that ruled me. But not having someone there to help validate my next move or not having google present to ask questions that will get me to my next destination have forced me to get out of my little bubble and find a new way. I have to approach absolute strangers on the streets and sometimes may have to annoy them a little bit to help me. Majority of the time I’m so desperate to even think about my actions but I do find that it comes more naturally now. If you don’t put yourself out there you’ll be walking in circles. Working through difficult situations alone; getting lost, getting lost and getting lost…and by resolving them by myself just makes me feel damn good. My confidence is being built up.

 

Being My Own Friend

God me, myself and I have gotten close.  I have my ups and downs but at the end of the each day I am proud and happy for myself. I find myself getting excited for every new day because it is quite literally a blank page waiting to be written. I’ve learned how I react to situations and have been able to understand myself well enough to know how to cope in them. I now know when I need to give myself downtime and know where my boundaries are. Before, I never knew how to relax or give myself a break. I always had F.O.M.O (fear of missing out, thank you Carrie) and thought that a Friday or Saturday night staying in was not acceptable. I would push myself to go out and socialize because if I didn’t I’d be missing out. I feel like I’ve gotten past that and I don’t mind, actually quite enjoy staying in and keeping low key. It gives me more time to focus on more important things and saving money is a plus. This may be a tough routine to follow given I am in Ireland, the land of Guinness.  I was having a difficult time not being able to directly provide support, love or friendship to people around me while I’m here. I felt like I had a lot to give but no one to give it to anymore. I decided the other night that I would instead start giving myself all the support, love and friendship I had to offer still. Sounds SO cheesy but I’ve actually found that redirecting that energy has been effective and I feel better.

It Gets Lonely

Oh, it gets lonely. I have never felt more alone than I did when I was curled up in my dorm room crying my eyes thinking “Why the fuck did I do this?” I didn’t feel right about it and I was hundreds of dollars and miles from home. I didn’t have it in me to pull myself out. It was a scary lonely feeling. Maybe it was a big wave of homesickness. It lasted a solid 24 hour period before it started to fade a bit. Being alone is good, it’s a test and I think it’s incredibly important to be happy alone. But, I think happiness derives from human connection. I don’t think you can be 100% happy if you seclude yourself. So maybe I was feeling a lack of genuine human connection and in my moment of weakness thought that I never will in Ireland. That thought is absolutely ridiculous. It’s going to take time to get my bearings together and have a steady two feet on the ground but it will happen. Other than that one real low, I do experience bouts of loneliness but they’re bearable and I’m able to reason with myself that they are only temporary and things will begin to look up. I think that recently, the highs have outweighed the lows. But, if you ever decide to move to a new country alone, I do think it’s important to know that most people are affected by this silly loneliness thing. It’ll build character.

 

Appreciating Your Friendships From Home

Sometimes all I need is a few words with familiar friends. I forget that I have this obscure, fun sense of humour and then within seconds of talking with my best friends and it comes out I’m like “Oh yes! This makes me happy”. It’ll take a bit of time but I will find new people to share offbeat jokes with. You don’t have to keep all of your feelings or issues to yourself, they’re still there to talk. The beautiful thing about travelling in our generation is the convenience of instant communication and Skype. It feels like a pain in the ass to Skype sometimes, what an effort. I find that 10/10 times I finish a Skype call with someone from home I feel refreshed and happier. Being far away from them makes you realize how precious and important a friendship can be, especially those lifelong ones. They also remind me of the ability I have at making friendships and remind me that new friendships are to come and soon I’ll have even more friends to make weird, weird jokes with and confide in. But the one’s back home cherish them. I miss those nutcrackers.

I Can Sleep Anywhere

Give me a method of transportation and I will fall asleep on it.

 

Is it okay to be this vulnerable on a travel blog? Dear diary?
image

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s