The Colors Of Travel
We’re all too familiar with it. Travel based Instagram accounts filled with colorful pictures of places all around the world– from jaw-dropping landscapes and awe-inspiring architecture, mixed with mouth-watering shots of exotic food from different regions of the planet. Blog entries with stories so full and rich– leaving the impression to anyone who comes across it that travelers must have it all. They must be living the life.
Traveling is without a doubt a wonderful experience. To me at least, it’s pretty much as colorful as the photos that you see. Sometimes, the experience is even more vibrant than what we could ever attempt to document. And there are definitely some memories that we would never be able to articulate eloquently enough because words and pictures just wouldn’t do it justice.
But the truth is…
With that said, yes, social media is NOT real life. With all the beautifully curated accounts, captured adventures just doesn’t end there. Despite how colorful and lively the memory remains, sometimes, it’s not all rainbows and smiles. It’s not all yoga poses at a beach, or waking up fresh and dewy on top of a canyon. There’s usually more story to it, whether it be adventures or misadventures. Pictures, though said to be worth a thousand words, clearly isn’t always enough to tell the truth.
As I was laying in bed on my $16 hotel splurge in Mandalay trying to combat the flu and my own loneliness, I realized that THIS exact thing right here, is a vital part of traveling, yet somehow, many of us choose not to write about it. Travel has the reputation that it’s all fun and games… and though in reality, it kinda is, there are definitely some truths that goes in the shadow. Not because we’re in denial about it, or because we want to try to hide it from you. But because the experience of travel is far too amazing that in the end, we kind of forget about the struggle that we sometimes face. So before the idea of travel misleads you, I’m telling you right now that it’s not always as perfect as it looks. (But yup, most of the time, it is)
The Thing About Solo Travel
By the time you get the hang of solo traveling, you start to learn why you’re actually putting yourself through it. The first time I went officially solo, I did it because when I was younger and dreamed of traveling, I’ve always pictured doing it by myself. Not because I didn’t see a family in my future or anything, but that’s just how I automatically envisioned seeing the world. I’m not constantly traveling alone, but I do when I need to, and I do when I want to– which is quite a lot. The more I did it, I realize that I continue to do it because out of all the other ways I travel, going solo feeds my soul the best. I don’t have to convince you that any kind of travel is great, but like everything else in this world, some things just kinda one ups the other. I certainly do love traveling with my husband, but I feel that it does more for our relationship than my soul. It’s not a bad thing. But travel is very personal to me, so I crave going to places by myself a lot.
It’s true when they say that the thing about solo traveling is that you’re never really alone. And though I’d agree with it, I’m pretty sure no solo traveler would deny the fact that sometimes, solitary moments is just as essential as meeting people. Why look for it if it tends to get lonely, you might ask? Well, there’s plenty of reasons. But to me, I feel like that loneliness is a vital part of the process of a soulful travel experience. For me, it’s always been a great time to think and to organize my thoughts. Being alone let’s me understand my thoughts without being influenced by others. It has no boundaries on what I can think or feel. How narrow-minded I may actually be, or how wide I’d allow my perspective to grow. It lets me be…me. Completely and 100% just all me.
Some of the most interesting people I’ve met were through traveling, and that’s definitely one of my favorite things about travel in general. But still, I crave to be alone here and there, and I already told you why. And when I am as I come across couples holding hands looking for restaurants to eat at for dinner, or a big group of friends exchanging the most genuine laughters, it makes you miss your people. Even if you’re not even alone, and you’re having awesome conversations with great people in the hostel, sometimes, although very rarely, it just hits. When shit happens and whatever city you’re in just doesn’t vibe with you, you start to feel lonely. Just like I did in Mandalay when I was sick. Or when everything is just too unfamiliar and somehow you’re not in the mood to immerse in something new, it gets pretty fucking lonely. And it’s not a feeling of homesickness, it’s just what it is. Loneliness.
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Like I’ve said earlier, the loneliness is a part of it. It comes with the package, and if you’re traveling to learn about yourself and about the world, you have to allow yourself to feel all the emotions you come across. How else are you going to understand the way you feel about certain places or about yourself if you can’t let yourself be real about it? You can’t grow from covering up your loneliness by surrounding yourself with people all the time. You’ve gotta let yourself feel. Don’t mask it. If you feel empty, let yourself feel it. But don’t feel that way the entire time. Just give yourself time to think and to absorb whatever it is going through your mind. It’s seriously such a wonderful thing to do for yourself. And yes, you can definitely do this without traveling, but when you’re in a foreign place and you’re anonymous to the rest of the population, it does wonderful things when you just let it be.
So yes, Instagram isn’t real life. Pictures doesn’t narrate it all. You only see what we want you to see. It’s not always sunny where we’re at. The food is not always delicious. And getting lost sometimes isn’t always as great and adventurous as we make it sound like. And no, we’re not living the life. We’re simply just… living.
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