I didn’t find myself.
But I had one hell of an introduction.
I’m what you would call an experienced traveler. Like most naive, young things, my first dreams of traveling involved jet setting off with a backpack, shacking up in an Ashram somewhere and finding myself in my very own version of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’.
Yeah, that didn’t happen.
Instead I floated around aimlessly in paradise during one of the worst pandemics of our time, wondering why my overseas excursions didn’t match the picture I had in my head.
And while I still prefer being out there somewhere instead of being locked up in my boring Leeds flat, it isn’t always sunshine and roses even in the midst of unspeakable beauty.
Because those same little self doubts, indecisions, dramas and plain ol’ laziness still find a way to torment you, even when you’re supposed to be having fun.
Now you might be reading this thinking I’m a self-serving, ungrateful prat that is moaning about being on the beach.
And while that may be at least partly true, the truth is I think it speaks to some wider issues that may be more common than you think. I think many of us have an ‘idea’ of what long term travel is supposed to look and feel like.
It’s very much romanticised and hyped up, but nobody ever talks about the unexpected psychological roller coaster that comes as part of the package.
And rather than lying down on a sunbed feeling hard done by, I took the opportunity to reflect.
What was this ‘stuff’ that was going on in my head? Why did it feel like a constant tug of war between how I was supposed to feel and this internal dialogue that barged its way into my thoughts from time to time?
What I identified were common themes in my thinking that were the source of some of my ire.
Had I had known about some of these before I embarked, I probably would have taken more time out to meditate, reflect and just be gentle with myself.
So what were the themes?