**This is a personal post. If you’re only interested in the travel, please see further posts**
March 23, 2018
I have officially been traveling for 3 months. 88 days, to be exact.
I’ve been to 6 countries so far this trip.
I’ve built friendships, fell in lust, witnessed wildlife and nature like never before, seen a Wonder of the World, and made countless memories.
But I’ve also gotten lost, been stuck outside in the pouring rain (several times), broken my backpack, gotten sick, and felt heart broken.
Lessons I have learnt thus far:
If you don’t feel like drinking tonight, don’t go drinking. You’re feelings probably won’t change once you get out to the crowded, sweaty bar.
Less is more.
If you leave late for your flight, you will be late for your flight. Don’t leave late for your flight.
Being a pedestrian in Australia is a hazard. The cars will not stop at a cross walk and if you attempt to cross the street out of turn, you will get a swift honk and you best be gettin out the way. Damn tourists.
If it looks like it’s going to rain, bring a rain coat. Just do it.
Australian businesses hate giving away free wifi. There is always a cap on usage, if there even is any wifi.
Asian businesses love giving away free wifi!
I am not one of the world populations that enjoy durian.
Projecting to the world that you are sure of yourself is the best way to become sure of yourself.
And now, the heavy ones:
I need to be more assertive. When safety is of concern, I am able to stand up for myself and assert my wants and needs. That’s not a problem. But, in day-to-day situations I find it difficult sometimes to make my feelings known and understood. I fear being misinterpreted as rude or a bitch. When really, I am the creator of my destiny and I should never feel out of line for asserting power over my own life if I don’t like what is going on. I feel like this stems from being a woman and the misconception that women who are assertive are cold/ruthless and lack the softness that a woman “should” have. Where-as, if a man made the same assertions he would be seen as strong and confident. Now I’m rambling. But ya. I need to learn to tell people how I feel and stop worrying about what they might think of me or apologizing for feeling the way that I do. Because if it changes their conception of me, then maybe they aren’t worth being around any longer.
Being alone is different than being lonely. Story: I went on a date with an English guy, the one that thought I was ancient when I told him I’m 24, for those of you who I’ve told this story to. We were talking about both of us being solo travellers. He made it very clear that he doesn’t like to travel alone and makes it his mission to find someone to share each experience with. I then talked about my experiences with being alone during profound moments of travel and the power of those moments. And how they would’ve been so different had I been with someone else. Maybe not different in a bad way! But definitely different. And that it has been nothing but rewarding to experience travel with/for me, myself, and I. As an individual. As an independent person who knows who she is and doesn’t need to rely on others to make travel worthwhile. He rebuttled by saying that experiencing things alone makes him sad, he wants to share travel with others, and that if he had to experience everything alone then he would rather just go home. I was shocked! This guy was so afraid of being alone and so desperately needed to attach his experiences to human contact. This is a huge assumption, but I got the vibe that this guy was completely uncomfortable with himself. He fidgeted constantly, gave me back-handed, Barney Stinson style compliments, and I saw him fix his hair in a passing store window at least 3 times. Through this shitty date I came to realize how comfortable I have become with myself and being alone. And that being “alone” (you’re never really alone when backpacking – it’s hard to be alone in a 10 bed dorm, can’t even take a poop alone usually) doesn’t automatically mean that you are suppose to be lonely. I am definitely guilty of searching for things to occupy my alone time to avoid just spending time with myself– social media, Netflix, etc., anything to escape. But solo travel has helped me to let go, at least a little bit, of the constant need for entertainment and keeping my mind “busy”. I have learnt to enjoy the quiet personal reflection that comes with solitude. I have learnt to like who I am, and enjoy spending time with that person. AKA me. And let me tell you – I’m not lonely, even though I’m alone.
I am privileged beyond belief to be able to live this life. As a Canadian I have been handed so many opportunities that have made it possible for me to get here. In short – I was born into an average, middle class, white family, in which my parents both worked full time for my entire childhood, we went on a yearly family vacay within Canada, my brother and I both played sports, and we had education funds waiting for us when university rolled around. If my parents ever felt tight for cash growing up, I never knew about it. This all set me up for receiving a post secondary education and getting a well paying career by the age of 22. I, as many others, accumulated student debt, but was able to pay it off within 6 months of finishing uni. Don’t get me wrong. I work hard for the things I have accomplished – I work overtime, pull double shifts, live frugally – but I am well aware that I bask in the realm of privilege and that this is why I am in my current position. A combination of hard work and being born a heterosexual, Christian, female, of middle socioeconomic status, with two loving parents and a large support system make my life possible. I fully recognize the innate privilege I hold and hope to be able to use it positively as I further explore the world.
These are honestly just a few thoughts I’ve had that I felt the need to write down. Yes, this blog is a wonderful way to easily show friends and family what I have been doing. But this is also becoming a personal account for me to look back on in 10 years and remember that great day I hiked the Tongariro Crossing, or dove at the Great Barrier Reef. And I hope, tied to these blogs my feelings and emotions shine through. I hope to remember the way the food smelt, the way the locals smiled, and the way the ocean salt felt in my hair.
Anyway, I’m doing fine mom. Headed to India tomorrow and my life is about to be turned upside-down. Stay tuned.
XO – Kristiane