Traveller’s Dilemma


“It’s all about the people not the place.” It’s a cliche I know, but it’s so true. That’s what I love most about travelling— meeting such a variety of colourful characters from all over the world. Everyone is so individual and so interesting. Not like at home, where it’s just the same people, day in, day out; same places, same jokes, same conversations. There’s so much less drama, and people aren’t judging you on your past school grades, partners, or career. I’m not X’s ex; I’m not X’s daughter; I’m not X’s friend… I’m just me right here, right now! We’re all just living and learning in the present moment.

When I first came to New Zealand I was sad to leave the people I met along the way. When you share a few nights with someone in a hostel it feels like a few months of “real time.” We always say we’ll stay in touch and see each other further down the coast, but naturally everyone is on their own journey and we can’t get too attached. I’m getting more used to that now, and at least we’ll always be connected by the good times we’ve shared. And by Facebook, of course, our own little nomadic network of mutual friends and tagged horrors. Plus, the more I travel, the more places I want to go, so it’s good to get contacts with confirmations of couches to crash on across as many continents as possible! The possibilities are endless…

It’s just a bit hard some days when I’m not feeling my best; whether it’s homesickness or hormones, I guess everyone has those days. When it’s good, it’s so good, and all our travelling posse are just one fun-loving family. But when it comes down to it, I’m not sure there’s anyone I could really turn to. It’s not like I can just pop over to mum’s for a cuddle and a cuppa, or call up my best friend and get that instant click. I mean, I am meeting nice people all the time, but I just wonder how many of them would care about me enough to help if I needed it? I like to think I’m a nice person, and a good friend, but if the tables were turned, would I sacrifice my fun for any of them? Hmmm.

I suppose that’s one of the reasons we come away in the first place—to run away from those kinds of obligations to people, the things that get in the way of our enjoyment and self-expression. “Real life” is heavy with those ties and responsibilities, like getting dressed up for a night out then having to get a taxi home early with a weepy friend who has just seen her ex with a new girl, or even just the weekly torture of Sunday dinners at Grandma’s house when I’d rather be in bed watching movies. Life on the road feels so free and light!

I just wonder if this lifestyle is a bit empty. That’s kinda how I feel… like I want a bit more depth. Not enough to hold me back from my dreams, but enough to support me and anchor me in the down days. I don’t know what I want. What am I looking for? The same thing as everyone else I guess: happiness. So what is the highest happiness? People would probably agree it comes from love. And love comes from relationships with people. But when I’m only spending a couple of minutes or hours or days with so many different people, how is it possible to build strong relationships where love can develop? It takes time, patience, and sacrifice to get to that level. Without that, “friendship” can just be an exchange, where each person just cares about what they can take, not what they can give.

I think I had that depth at home, but part of me thinks that I just didn’t want it anymore. With depth comes drama and difficulties. And after all, the people who are closest to you are the ones who can hurt you the most. I’ve definitely had my fair share of heart aches and breaks. But I can’t be satisfied just swimming around on the surface. All my Kodak smiles and quirky conversations are so superficial; I feel like such a fake. I just want something real.

So what to do… I can’t go back into the past, but I don’t really know where the future is leading me. Maybe I need to settle down somewhere and work for a while. Or go somewhere a bit more exciting, like Peru or India! Or maybe I should just go home…but then I’ll be right back where I started, stuck in the mundane and dreaming of exotic escape.

I think I just need a long walk; maybe I’ll find the answers on top of a mountain…I might even try some meditation up there, try to relax and take my mind off things. I don’t know how I would start; my mind’s like a whirlwind. Maybe I could say one of those mantras I learned at my old yoga class. At least then I can channel all this emotion into something, and the meditation might mean a bit more. I need something more than just temporary relaxation; I need answers, I need direction… I need love.

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