Friday, June 8, 2012

What's in a name?

Someone once asked me if I had a blog. I said, why yes I do. Really, doesn’t everyone these days? I directed said person to my blog. Then said person somewhat snickered at the name of my little blog, The Lonely Traveler. I sort of just shrugged it off at the time. But in reality, it kinda hurt. I spent a long time coming up with the name, I put a lot of thought into it. Or at least, I thought I did.

And so, I will now explain it to you. I’ve had this little blog for.... dear lord, six years? Holy crap. It’s about time I explained myself then.

Why I chose, The Lonely Traveler: The obvious one is, that I do tend to travel alone. And not by choice, or so I thought at the time, six years ago. I think now, I tend to travel alone because I want to. And I think that started when I finally went to New Zealand, alone. The trip was to be my graduation present to myself for making it through graduate school. But of course when one graduates from university with any degree, said person is in debt. So instead of using what money I had on the trip, I started paying off my loans. Then I couldn’t get any one of my friends to commit to going with me. They were either still in school themselves, or getting married, or having babies, or were dirt poor, yadda yadda yadda. So finally after four years, I drummed up the courage to go it alone. I did it. It was completely awesome. And you can all read about it, if you haven’t already on this very blog under December 2009. Wow, that was almost 3 years ago now. Time flies when you aren’t paying attention.

I still get nervous when I go off on my own. I was nervous when I flew out to North Carolina last month, but once there, I had a grand ole time. I will be driving myself from Wyoming to Chicago and Minnesota come July. Granted I will be visiting dear friends, but that is 5 days of driving on my own. I’ve noticed that I like being able to stop whenever I feel like it to take a breather, go on a short walk about, piss break, what have you. I like that freedom of not having to confer with fellow travellers. If I want to stop and look at the giant ball of twine then, gosh darn it, I will. If I see a trail head sign by the side of the road, then it is within my right to stop the car and go for a hike.

I’ve also come to the stark realization that I do not travel well, unless it is a designed road trip. Me and planes/ trains/ boats/ busses/ and apparently kayaks, do not get along. Getting to the destination is not the fun part. I love going places, seeing cool things, etc. So I put up with the fact that I will be a nervous miserable wreck getting to them, because I know that it is worth it, in the end. Puking in that stupid small airplane bathroom is totally worth it, trust me. I like traveling to work destinations alone too. Don’t get me wrong, I like traveling with co-workers. They are usually great fun and we tend to have the most bizarre discussions. And traveling with my family is usually quite a hoot as well.

I do find at times that I wish there was someone in the passenger seat next to me who I could talk to about this or that, or be able to show them this or that as I pass by on the road. Or wish that there was someone with me on those long flights who would engage me and make me laugh hysterically to take my mind off the fact that there are still 7 hours left of said flight.

Now the less obvious (and more serious?): I am not an extrovert. I am an extreme introvert. I can go for days, not saying a single word. I force myself to do things and when put into leadership roles, force myself to be said leader. Doing this puts a lot of stress on me, so when I have the chance to be just one of the sheep, I say baaahhhhh. I have friends, but none of them know my secrets, desires, and whatever. Some of them know some things, others know other things, but none of them know everything. I don’t have the obligatory “best friend” with whom one shares every dirty little thing and knows you better than you know yourself. I am by nature and by my own design alone, and therefore often lonely. Which is why I tend to go off on hikes by myself or long walks through town contemplating and debating with myself said loneliness and usually drawing no definitive conclusions. It’s an endless cycle of woe is me, I have no friends, no social life, yet don’t do anything to change that, and realize I find comfort within myself and don’t need that social fluff.

There’s no “bestie”, boyfriend, soulmate, or life partner. I know that there may never be. Some days, I’m fine with that and relish it (I quite enjoy the fact that the entire bed is mine and I can flop, turn, twist, and contort my body anywhere I please), other days, not so much. But that’s life.

So basically, I am a lonely traveler. But that’s the way I like it. Oh, that last bit is kinda depressing. Sorry about that.

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