Yin & Yang Of Solo Travel
While in most of my posts here and on Instagram I so exuberantly rave about solo travel, just like life, there really is another side to it — loneliness, fear, poor self-confidence and homesickness. It's really never about the place you are at, the town you are visiting, or even the people you meet. It is usually about how far you are from home, family and the comfort of the familiar. It’s about the feeling inside you, however fleeting it may be or even if it lingers.
But keep in mind, it is important we experience both, that life and living is about feeling the sadness and fear as well as the excitement and joy. That is the Yin and Yang, and the sheer unique wonder, of travelling solo.
I wrote this in a very sad and a little fearful moment the other week, more as an exercise in self-discovery and therapy, and I wasn't going to publish it. But in an attempt to be real and honest with you and myself, here it is: emotion and self-doubt at its rawest.
Right now I so badly want to write something inspiring and uplifting. A blog about how remarkable, vibrant and motivating San Francisco is. I wish I could drool words out of my mind and onto the screen about the epic sunrises, the surreal sights, homely feel and the divine cuisine. But unfortunately I feel like that would be lying not only to you, but also to myself.
I may be visiting all the wrong parts of San Francisco. Or perhaps I would be having an entirely different experience if I was travelling with a friend? Maybe it's just the colder weather or the grey foggy skies that are making me think less of myself in this city? Or maybe my expectations were too high — after all, expectations are the root of all disappointment. Or maybe I am simply missing the beach; the familiar smell of salt, the sound of repetitive rolling waves kissing the shoreline, the feel of the ocean water rushing against my skin, sand creeping into my belly button and sticking to my toes. Maybe I am too much a creature of habit and have just not yet mastered being a chameleon.
To be honest, I'm not sure if it even is about the place, or more about me, but I'm not feeling ALIVE like I do at home. I feel cold, tired, lethargic, sick of unhealthy food, even though I have still been eating relatively well, it feels like I am surrounded by a bath of gloop. Or maybe it is the prawns I ate — I knew prawns would do that to me.
The people in general are nice and so friendly. But the neighbourhood near where I am staying isn't particularly cosy and as a young vulnerable woman, I don't feel safe being alone, even through the day! Maybe that's impacting my stay?
Maybe there is something so much like home here, that the emptiness and sadness of homesickness is triggered too easily?
Maybe I am starting to feel the slump that comes before the hump that signals the "middle" of the trip away. Maybe home just seems too far away for my heart at this moment?
Before I started writing this post I honestly thought (out loud) to myself, “What am I even doing here?".
I'm not fulfilling any goals, or achieving anything. I don't wake up and want to jump out of bed. Instead I curl up in a tighter ball and drift back off to sleep, dreaming of remote familiar places.
There is no magic sparkling in the air for me right now. The sky is colourless and the things and places I normally seek for inspiration are non-existent or unsafe. For example, magical sunrises don't happen (or I am yet to venture outside in the darkness of dawn to see one). The sky is grey and the air is foggy. It's cold and dark and I don't feel any desire to rise from my slumber.
I normally love waking up to the sun rising, with or without fog, and it's surreal, majestic aura and colours filling the sky. I love waking up and doing morning yoga — welcoming the sun, the day and all of its potential. But here I feel unsafe to be outside, and there is nowhere quiet enough to find peace. Sirens are heard both near and far every couple of minutes and being inside feels a lot safer than being out.
I'm not helping others and I feel like I'm being so unappreciative of being here, because I KNOW how blessed I am to be right where I am and to be experiencing the things I do.
I feel lost.
In saying that;
I KNOW that losing yourself is the best way to find yourself; to learn, grow and develop.
In saying that;
I KNOW there have been aspects of San Francisco that I have absolutely loved! And coming here has helped me experience new places, foods and even meet some new people who I never would have met if I hadn't come here.
In saying that;
I KNOW that I won't regret this experience, and as soon as I leave I will probably want to return and try again, doing things differently.
In saying that;
I KNOW I should be, and I am, thankful. To even exist is a blessing in itself. Just because this part of the world isn't the warmest, home-feel kind of tea, doesn't mean it isn't incredible. It's just a little difficult for me today.
After all, if life begins at the end of our comfort zones, life is just beginning.
With much love to San Francisco, I loved meeting you, I really did, I miss you, and I will be back.
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