The first week of solo travel has been lonely. Sure, there were plenty of times when I was surrounded by new friends but it was lonely in the sense that none of my time was filled unless I filled it. This is exactly the type of "completely owning my time" life that I was trying to manifest. I couldn't have been sure of this though because to know something you have to truly live it.
When not bounded but any musts, filling a day and creating a fulfilling life is actually a daunting task. When the reality of my new circumstance set in I felt extremely alone, lost, and even bored at times. I meditated on all of the questions one might expect to arise for a person setting out on long-term solo travel.
- Is this what I really wanted?
- Am I really cut out for this?
- How can I still make sure I have all the elements of life that are still important to me?
- Will I ever get used to this feeling?
- How do I begin to work towards my future will learning to enjoy this new life of travel?
I finally came to realize that all of these doubts were based in fear. What is fear but not our own creation to keep us from what we really want?
I was putting pressure on myself to see every sight in every city I could. I was pressuring myself to spend time with the others in the hostels that I could tell I did not really relate too (Baker and Shawna, I don't mean either of you should you happen to read this). I was sacrificing much of my personal health and wellness philosophy by saying that it is impossible maintain such a regimen while travelling.
I have worked hare to discover such a clear picture of the things that are important for me to have in my life. This trip was about stepping away from that which was not serving my greatest good and structuring my life around that which does (with the opportunity to travel being a very, very fortunate side-effect).
I have told so many friends and coaching clients that they must prioritize that which is most important and be willing to dismiss the rest. I have been espousing a minimalist lifestyle, focusing on the things that truly matter. Yet, at the very onset of my new-found freedom I took the first opportunity to fill my days with the assumed activities.
- It would be a shame to visit _____ and not see _____.
- I should make an effort to connect with these people even though we seem to have different paths.
- I really should go out more and try to see some of the nightlife.
These are all ways that I used to justify the sacrifice of working out, meditation, writing, reading, and so many other things that I value highly.
Today I rose early and ate a small breakfast in the dark at the hostel. I took a walk accompanied by one of my favorite podcasts to a park at the foot of a castle. I took off my shoes and walked barefoot in the grass. I truly believe that physical connection to the earth is necessary to a healthy life and it always bring me peace. I found a peaceful spot to meditate and journal. I had the most rewarding yoga practice I've had since the boat and then worked out, hard. The next few hours were spent at Szechenyi thermal bath, eating lunch, and wandering through St. Stephen's Basilica. This is the best day of solo travel I've had thus far and not because of the sights I saw, tours I attended, or photos I took. I prioritized all the things that are important to me but enjoyed them in a new and exciting city. I can't imagine a way to better structure my travels.
I know (and often preach, haha) so clearly that the path to happiness comes from within. We each need to turn our gaze inward and seek to understand what we truly need. There is not a universally right path on which to live much like there is not a universally right way to structure travel. I feel I have always known this, but as is so often true, I only truly know it now by living it.
Do you think you would benefit by structuring your life more deliberately? Please respond and comment. I would love to hear you feedback and any ways that you have found to structure your days around your passions. Thanks for reading.