When I decided to leave my hometown for over a year, without any certainty I would come back there for a long period of time, I was excited. I was so ready for an adventure on my own and I had been living towards the moment of leaving for a very long time.
The first stop was Jakarta, and I would be there for five months. So even though I was going abroad, I still sort of had a home.
And now I have travelled a bit through Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia (click here to see where I’ve been) and I came along two struggles that I keep running into (in daily life in Jakarta, as well as when I’m on the road).
Traveling alone vs. seeking out people to travel with.
I usually try to meet some people on couchsurfing to show me around their city, because I like meeting new people and I love it when they can show me all the great places. But I also like to be alone sometimes. But this is a constant dilemma. Because, at times, when I am looking at a great view and enjoying my trip, I would love to be able to share it with someone. But when I am constantly traveling with somebody, it can absorb a lot of my energy also. So for each destination and activity, I try to figure out if I want to do it alone, or if I would like to find a travel companion.
And then, while I am traveling alone, the question is not about finding somebody to travel with, but to socialize in general. For instance, while I am on a seven hour long bus ride, I prefer to be alone, just listen to music, read, sleep… whatever I want basically. These trips tend to take a toll on me even if I am alone, so if I have to talk through it, I will arrive even more exhausted.
But when I am sitting in a restaurant by myself, some company would be appreciated. But, what do you know, in the moments where I want company, it is nowhere to be found (or we have no way of communicating).
Trying to see everything vs. enjoying the moment and relax
Another two parts of me are constantly fighting each other. On the one hand, I really want to see as much as possible and do as much as possible. But I am the kind of person who sincerely enjoys spending a whole day reading a good book, or spending a whole day writing… And while traveling, I always feel guilty when I decide to have a day like this. I feel like I’m not making the most out of my trip and I could do more. I could meet new people, see new places, make new memories. And while most of the times this side of me wins the battle, sometimes I just need (half) a day to unwind, even on short trips. Because when I am at a magical place such as an island inside a lake inside a volcano, I just want to take my time to enjoy the place, and spend all day just staring at the view. And I might as well do this while having my kindle in my lap, reading, and occasionally glancing up with a satisfied sigh.