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Old 03-07-2013, 07:04 PM   #126
porkandcorn OP
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon
Oddometer: 296
san pedro de atacama, day 2.99999

thursday, march 7, 2013 - bedtime

this traveling alone stuff is complicated. every place that i visit, i have a deep desire to connect with the people around me. but for the most part, whether or not that happens is not up to me, the traveler. it is primarily up to those around me - and whether or not they feel the need to connect with another stranger who is more "a stranger" than they are.

Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr

it seems odd, but it's true. it's not always bad. sometimes, you have fantastic encounters with new people (like the riders from argentina, or the family than ran the beach bar in uruguay) that give you existential fuel for days or weeks. sometimes, a random stranger "throws you a bone", maybe sits down to have a beer with you, or just asks where you are from and where you are going. you really start to appreciate human contact for what it is - one person connecting with another person. it's a simple, but very important thing that i have taken for granted in my normal life back in the united states.

and other times, there is no contact - there is only yourself. you wander alone. you have only yourself to entertain, to blame for your loneliness, to thank for your courage, to admire, to speak to (in your head)…

it's an odd back and forth between being comfortable with your independence, and being tortured by it. here in san pedro, 99% of the people i see are traveling in pairs, in groups, with friends, with lovers, with family. and they do this for a reason - traveling solo is very, very difficult at times. it pushes you to the edges of your comfort zone, to a place where many of us prefer never to venture. i've been in that place for 2 months now.

i only mention this now because i was thinking about it during dinner - not because i'm sad, or feeling lonely. its just a very different existence - that's all. when i'm overwhelmed, i take a deep breath, and think about how fortunate i am to be able to do what i'm doing. i chose to travel this path alone. and i always come back to this place, willfully.

this is how i feel right now. maybe tomorrow, i'll feel different, better, worse - it really doesn't matter. i know that in some way, even if it is incalculable now, this experience is enriching me in ways that i'll only understand much later, after it's all done. i'm in the trenches now. the beautiful, exotic trenches of a foreign land on a real-deal adventure. adventuring for the sake of adventuring…

porkandcorn screwed with this post 03-09-2013 at 06:56 PM
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