Lonely Vs Alone

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“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”  Hunter S Thompson
 
  If you are reading this, chances are that you know what it is like to feel lonely. The stereotype of being single are generally categorized into one group: loneliness. Being lonely is that kind of aching that resonates in your chest. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or whom you’re with, it’s impossible to shake that feeling. Being lonely comes with so many side effects: memories, insomnia, and confusion. Loneliness encapsulates the best parts of your life and forces you to notice their profound absence. Loneliness makes you wonder why you? Why haven’t you had a simple stroke of luck? It is that prominent, gaping hole in your life that just can’t seem to be filled regardless of what you do. Loneliness comes with settling for less than you deserve. It’s incurable by company, it swells in the presence of friends. Loneliness is the isolation that comes with nursing a feeling unreturned — an expectation unmet.
  Being alone is different.  Being alone is a state of being. Loneliness is a state of mind. When you’re alone you are forced to realize all the things about yourself that you couldn’t when you spent your days about someone else. Being alone is taking the time to really think about what you want from someone the next time around. Being alone is reading a book, taking a long walk on the beach, having a delicious coffee and enjoying every single minute of it. It is buying a single ticket to a foreign film you know absolutely nothing about. it is taking a trip exactly the way you want to do it. Being alone is doing things by yourself, but also doing them for yourself.

Sometimes  being alone crosses paths with being lonely. You see a couple across the street and their happiness radiates, or a young family out for a stroll and you remember the days when that used to be you. For a brief moment that dull feeling aches in your chest, but it doesn’t stay.

Being alone can be the most empowering experience of your life. If you let the loneliness consume you, you’re going to lose the chance to figure yourself out. We can’t allow ourselves to be defined by the people we surround ourselves with, our relationship status, weekend plans or the  silence of our mobile phone. Loneliness isn’t about being in a relationship or being single. We are always trying to find the balance between being alone and being lonely.

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The In Between Traveler

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The In Between Traveler

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.” Rumi

I’m probably never going to trek in the Himalayas, hike the Inca Trail and camp out in the Carpathian Mountains. I prefer not being locked in a fancy resort for my entire trip but I don’t mind a few days. On the other hand, I will probably never go on a charity vacation where you perform worthy labor on behalf of poor people. I don’t see a cruise as being a fun thing but I have never been on one.

I am the in between traveler. I search for the right balance between comfort and strangeness – not too hot and not too cold, not too scary but not too fake, not too primitive and not too antiseptic. I like a mix of culture, history and nature. I’m not jumping out of airplane adventurous but I enjoy going to places that many people have not been. I have been known to eat insects in countries that do that but tying my feet together to bungee jump off a bridge is not my thing.

I will always prefer to do something out of the ordinary when traveling but there are times that I want to do the touristy stuff as well. I hate words like glamping, staycation or bleisure (that one sounds like something that requires medical attention). I do not like when trips are described as soul-searching. Eat Pray Love came out a long time ago. I am over it. Nor do I like it when they are described as good for people who like to live on the edge. Do I need any more adrenalin in my life? I’ve learned that recommendations are tough. One person’s paradise might be my idea of hell. I do a lot of research.

I like mental adventures. I prefer to visit countries that have fought wars or had revolutions in my lifetime, extinct volcanoes, countries we are mad at that aren’t dangerous and countries with drug cartels that are safer now. I am interested in seeing history unfold.

For me, in between is the way to travel. The adventurers and the cruisers have their paths set. But the journey in the middle is the path of movement. As the travel guru Goldilocks says, “This one is too big and that one is too small but the one in the middle is just right.”

Fly safe,
JAZ

Do You Have What It Takes To Travel Solo?

Do You Have What It Takes To Travel Solo?

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau

I found a travel blog entitled Do you have what it takes to travel solo? It went on to ask the following questions.

“• Is watching a movie by yourself pathetic?

• Are you the kind of person who needs a buddy to go grocery shopping or jogging?

• Do you get uncomfortable while walking or driving through an unknown neighborhood?

• If your plans don’t fall into place, does it ruin your mood or your entire day?

• Did you fail basic arithmetic?

• Are you painfully shy?

• Do you always need to seek advice before making decisions?

• When it comes to self-defense and survival skills, are you at a total loss?

• Are you often aloof, and dependent on others for directions?

If you said yes to any of these above questions, you might want to think twice about heading out on an adventure by yourself.”

I said yes to most of them and here I am traveling alone and liking it. The reason I am able to travel alone is because I asked myself different questions. Here are my questions.

Are you able to face your fears to have an incredible adventure?

Can you get out of your comfort zone and be uncomfortable?

Are you willing to be lonely sometimes?

Are you able to accept that  you might feel scared or anxious traveling to places you have never been before?

Having a bad sense of direction, can you get lost and know that you will somehow find your way back and nothing terrible will happen?

Are you willing to take that first step to go where you want to go instead of sitting home thinking about it?

Are you waiting till something comes along that you are not afraid to do alone?

Are you waiting for that perfect travel partner?

Is your passion for travel bigger than your fear of the unknown?

What that other blog said to me was, if you are scared, don’t do it. I now say if you are scared, that is the thing you have to do. I am scared every time I go somewhere alone. What I’ve learned is that it is always amazing.  Things happen that are  both good and not so good.  But when I’m traveling, the unknown always works out. I’ve learned to leave spaces in my plans for the unexpected which always turns into a travel memory.  If you really want to travel solo, start doing it, the rest will come.

Fly safe,

JAZ