The greatest and toughest lesson I am learning on this journey is the importance of maintaining a positive outlook. Naturally, it’s easy to feel lonely while traveling solo. Loads of travel articles are written on this topic. Loneliness and corresponding self-pity are such easy emotions to sink into when feeling down. They’re the path of least resistance; what’s much more difficult is to reject those negative emotions and find your happiness regardless of the situation.
Yesterday was my birthday. Just another fifth of April but a day that is usually at least slightly special for me. Usually made special by the people around me and so I was sad to be away from family and friends and started the day in a generally unhappy and unenthusiastic mood. I got easily fed up with my daily language barrier (I’m in a remote area in the mountains where English is not most people’s strong suit) and it was a cold windy, day. Too windy to do the hike I had been looking forward to trying.
Anyway, I carried on like this for awhile before finally snapping out of it. I took a walk down to the river and laid on the shore while reading my book – conveniently about the power of being present in each moment (The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle). I listened to the river and read about reaching peace within yourself regardless of outside factors. What I got out of it is that I’m in charge of my own happiness. I can choose to let myself feel down for no reason or I can perk up and enjoy all the life and energy that is around me. See how wise I’m becoming?
I finished the book and continued my stroll down the river – sometimes listening to the water and the birds and sometimes singing to music. I sat down when I felt like it, drank water from the stream, and completely enjoyed hanging out with myself. I had a drastic attitude shift and the rest of the day was wonderful because I decided it would be.
After some time by the river, my phone rang at the perfect moment with a call that the weather was better for the hike and we could go. It was a gorgeous walk and well worth the wait. The area I’m staying in is so beautiful. After the hike, I returned to the hotel I’m working at to help with dinner and was very happy to do so.
Again, attitude is key. I’m finding that traveling alone has very high highs and corresponding low lows. Something to do with how fast situations change from day to day maybe. Anyway, it’s important to realize that both these conditions are temporary. You just have to enjoy the highs, ride out the lows, and be present throughout it all.
Happy travels! If you’re ever down, remember just a slight mental tweak could be all you need.
Mra khla (Until next time),
Layla (My Berber name because Taylor is hard to say)