One month down, many to go!
It’s been 6 weeks since I started my trip. During this time I went to two countries and eight cities, met many people, made new friends, experienced different things, and learned a few. I was busy most of the time, I had only a few days I could stop and think about what I am doing and what I am going through. Since this trip is not only about traveling (actually this is just a very nice tool used for expanding my comfort zone and self-knowledge) I decided to share some thoughts:
1. Be a traveler, not a tourist
The first thing I learned on this trip is that being a traveler is different from being a tourist. I used to do 1 month trips every year (FYI in Brazil by labor law we have the right to take 30 straight days of vacation) and during these trips I always had everything planned day by day. I did just the same during the first four weeks, but at some point I realized that this wasn’t the way I should do it. There were days when I just didn’t feel like going out, that I wanted to wake up late and rest all day long and it took me some time to understand that it’s fine not do anything once in a while. It is also ok not to have your whole trip planned, sometimes I decided what place to visit or which city to go next while having breakfast. That’s the spirit of a traveler, your are flexible, always open to changing plans, you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow and you don’t care, because tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet! And that’s the way to go, day after day.
2. A friend in need…
Do you have friends you can really rely on? I know I have, but less than I thought. When you are traveling alone for a long time loneliness eventually hits you.
Since I decided to do this trip, I knew it was the right time, I was mature enough to face this, I prepared myself physically and mentally and I felt very confident. I still feel that way, although loneliness hits me way ahead than expected. One day I was so excited about the place I was in, how beautiful it was and how cool the hikes I planned to do were, that I felt I had to share such nice moment with someone. So I tried for some days to talk to a person I trusted, even though we have been friends for few months only. It was one of those people you get along with very well, so I thought we would continue to share good and bad moments of our lives. Well, I was wrong and after insisting on a conversation that felt more like a one sided interview, I felt very very disappointed. But was I disappointed at this friend that hadn’t matched my expectations or at me that had created an image and expectation of a person I barely knew?
This question made me think about my concept of friendship. Not everyone thinks the same way I do, and some types of behavior that I think are negative might be normal to others. I’m not saying the person was wrong or mean, but only different. That means I will have to be more careful when choosing who to talk to in each situation, even with people that share the same definitions of friendship I do. That’s a lesson I’m learning the hard way… or should I say the best way? 😉
I don’t expect to have moments like this very often, I am used to be by myself and I enjoying being alone for long periods of time, but I am sure that eventually I will have this type of feelings again, after all that’s part of the path I decided to follow.
3. … is a friend indeed
On the other hand I was surprised with some people that I believed they wouldn’t even care about what I’m doing. People that I haven’t talked in years and suddenly they are sending me messages supporting my adventures, cheering me up to keep it up, traveling with me through my posts here and in Facebook, in some cases even calling me on Skype just to hear my experiences.
I received huge help from friends and distant relatives in Japan, people that I wasn’t even that close with, but once they knew I was around they insisted on meeting or gavinha me visiting them. I had such a great time! It never crossed my mind how nice it could be to hang out with them, and how much I could learn from them. It was also surprisingly good to meet people on the road and later on receive news from them or know that they are following my blog.
Are they better friends than the ones that let me down? Not necessarily. I guess in the end it is all about managing your own expectations. Easy to say, hard to do. So let’s keep up working!
4. It’s so hard to keep this blog up to date!!!! LOL