Surviving a Lonely Planet

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post. Over the past month and a half since leaving the Western Hemisphere, I’ve been to 6 countries traveling with family, friends, and random strangers. I’ve hardly had any time to reflect on this time let alone write a blog. Aside from the time issue, reliable wifi and computers are hard to come by (I am currently writing this on my phone). I hope to put a few posts over the next few weeks since there’s a lot I want to talk about.

Back to the subject on hand. During the Nicaragua podcast (which I’m sure you watched multiple times), a good friend of mine asked me “When did you feel the loneliest during your travels?” At first, I didn’t know how to respond. I was 5 weeks into my trip, I had just left Guatemala where I had my homestay and volunteer experience, and was traveling around Nicaragua with a great bunch of new friends. So the easiest response was “I haven’t been lonely at all!” I didn’t correlate that event to the idea of loneliness.

Sunsets with the gang in Nicaragua

Fast forward another 6 weeks, I was lying in my dorm bed in São Paulo with flu-like symptoms and watching Netflix. My good friend, David, had just left flying back to the States. We spent the last few weeks exploring Peru and Brazil. After a long [very long] New Year’s Eve (which certainly contributed to my ailments), I felt like shit for the next week or so. Long story short, I left São Paulo, spent 3 days at Iguazu Falls, and eventually went to a doctor in Buenos Aires. There, after 3 hours of waiting, I was told there was nothing wrong with me. I just needed some rest.

Machu Picchu with David

But was I lonely?! During those days, I talked with friends and family about what I was going through, shared stories with other travelers, and when I did have energy, I would explore the sites. But at the end of the day, no one was there to have my back. So I guess was lonely. And undoubtedly there have been other times when I’ve felt similar feelings.

YOLO solo in Queenstown, NZ

But one of the most important things I’ve learned throughout the past 4 months is not deciding or diagnosing loneliness but how you combat those feelings. Sure, everyone has their own ways (good and bad) of dealing with it. My communication with friends and family is vital because it usually brings back fond memories and brings about discussion of future adventures. Sharing stories with other travelers help me realize that other people are going through the same struggles. And not to get all spiritual and philosophical, but we’re all individuals alone in the world (unless you’re a conjoined twin). It’s the people you surround yourself with that make you feel whole; whether it’s family back home, friends spread around the world or the random stranger in the bunk below you.

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Just me and Lorretta

I’m currently riding south in Vietnam. Loretta and I have had quite the journey so far. She’s one tough broad!