The traveller is vigorous, adventurous and friendly. They have interesting stories and exotic experiences to share. They are vivacious and down for anything. They make friends easily and socialize without much effort. The traveller is strong, self aware, autonomous and savvy.
I am not a traveller. I start yawning around 3:00pm, despite being in Thailand for over a week (enough time to recover from jet lag). I am cautious of others, as I see no reason why anyone would want to converse with me. When met with interaction, I come up with nothing when I try to recall my human kinetics education, and even less when I try to garner share-worthy stories. I struggle to hold a conversation because I am too busy analyzing myself through what I believe to be their eyes, criticizing the sound of my voice or the way my mouth moves when I speak. I feel sapped of energy and out of touch with myself. I don’t know much about this country or travelling in general, and I rely on complicated inner reasoning to help me make decisions.
Travelling, so far, has abruptly reminded me that I am not “normal”. That I think differently than the average person and spend more time analyzing myself than I would like. I am rarely capable of fully engaging in social situations as I tend to “check out” and observe from a place far within my head. I constantly remind myself to “be in the moment” and “soak everything in” because I am worried about checking out involuntarily and missing beautiful moments. When met with difficulty, I make myself numb so that I can survive without my cumbersome emotions clouding my reasoning. The numbness often lasts.
I like to think that I am adventurous and adaptable, but when I recall the comfortable routine-driven life that I had just recently fallen into at home, I yearn for it more than anything. Familiarity used to seem boring, but now I would give anything to be bored at home.
Maybe this is just home-sickness disguised as an identity crisis. Don’t get me wrong, the trip has been spectacular so far. Breathtaking views and memorable experiences. Lasting relationships and delicious food. Everything travelling is supposed to be. I guess I’m just waiting to feel a change within myself. I unknowingly set a goal to undergo some sort of personal growth whilst sightseeing, learning and experiencing, but I have yet to feel myself expand. Instead, I feel as though I am crawling deeper and deeper inside myself, hiding from not being the traveller I expected to be.
Brooke and I are different from most of the people here. We like to wake up early and hike to a sunrise viewpoint before exploring new places with new friends. We like to go to the same place to eat once we find somewhere that is both cheap and good. We like to watch the sunset, go for a swim, then go to bed. Koh Tao is a big party island, and everyone here is here to party. We have been struggling with feeling “lame” as we are some of the youngest travellers here and are not interested in drinking every night. Another factor is my throat infection which I went to the clinic for yesterday. I got some antibiotics and taking those, coupled with my general feeling like shit has left me wanting to do anything other than party. We plan to participate in the Full Moon Party which takes place on the next island we’re going to on the 15th. We shall see.
I apologize for the bummer vibe of this post. I just needed to express my feelings of self-loss and outsider-ness. I’m only a week in and have been expecting a breakdown at some point along the way. Maybe this is it. Maybe not. Either way, I have been able to stay positive almost all of the time. Brooke’s anxiety manifests differently than mine, and staying positive is helpful in quelling her worries. Whilst being positive, I am reminding myself that it’s okay to not be okay. Self affirmations are good too.
I am a traveller. I am strong, capable and intelligent. I have interesting stories to tell and facts to share. I am likeable and friendly. I am self-governing and self-loving. I make good, safe decisions and am capable of enjoying myself.
In the end, I am doing the best I can. And that is all I can do.
I’m curious if any readers have experienced anything similar whilst travelling? Any tips? I’d love to hear from you. Comment below or email/Facebook/twitter DM me. Thank you for reading today.
Ps. pictures are posted on my "photo blog" page.
I wish you the best.