Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Don't You Get Lonely? ¡Por Supuesto!

Don't you get lonely? It's a common question people ask when they find out I'm traveling alone. Of course I get lonely. I miss having someone to share stories with, to help make decisions with, to touch and be touched by, physically, emotionally, spiritually.

Being lonely is part of the human condition and regardless of our state of togetherness with a partner, family or friends, there is always a layer of loneliness. We can't run away from it or self-medicate it away. The very addictiveness of television is an indicator of the pervasiveness of loneliness.

Travel takes us out of our comfort zone and emphasizes our aloneness.  And, traveling alone seems to open us up to new sights, new sounds, new experiences, and new people. That openness creates a vacuum that seems to suck in all that new stuff, allowing magic and synchronicities to happen, in a way that seldom happen while traveling with a partner or group.

A couple is a closed unit that leaves fewer openings for other connections; it also leaves less time for contemplation and reflection unless the couple makes explicit plans and time for solitude. 

I miss mi pareja and often yearn for his presence, sometimes almost painfully so. However, when I think about the strange and wonderful things that have happened on this trip, I realize that most of them would not have happened if we had been together.  

Of course, a different set of wonderful things probably would have happened, but they exist in a parallel world that I have no insight into. I do know that I would not have met Blanca on my first night in San Cristóbal; Eric never gets lost and speaks fluent Spanish so the problem would have never required her assistance. I wouldn't have met Alison or Janet or Carol or Enrique or Skip. I would not have crawled through a cave on my way to a cenote or taken over three thousand pictures in the last six weeks or collected 70-plus words ending in -ería.

We would have done wonderful things together and I'm sure we would have laughed more, but here's the rub ... traveling alone is different from traveling together. As much as I want to do both ... and I fully intend to ... they have to be asynchronous, which means there is just no point in whining about being lonely. Solitude is the price of a set of adventures and a condition of openness that does not function within the warm, loving embrace of togetherness.

Who designed this system? Sigh!

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