(Listen to the music while reading blog post.)
I’m siting in front of my laptop watching the perfectly empty screen with more and more frustration.
My best friends the letters are not willing to start their journey on the blank canvas, my words don’t come as they usually do.
Not even my best cup of coffee inspires me, no matter how much faith I have in my inner goblins who are normally able to transform coffee to blog posts.
All this why? Because I should write about a journey which I didn’t enjoy to the fullest. And this is ridiculous if I can look at it from a distance. Like ‘Meli, and how was lying on different sandy beaches in breathtaking sunny Portugal?’ ‘It sucked.’ ‘Are you nuts???’
Oh yes. That’s it. Because to travel is good. To travel is happiness. To travel is chill. To travel is discovery. Who on Earth goes to the Atlantic and returns with mixed feelings?! Nothing is just black or white, not even if 99% of travel blogs say everything is shiny and happy (including Mind the Map most of the time, ’cause I’m a natural born optimistic). But there is that ugly 1%. The 1% which is hard to speak about and equally hard to digest, definitely much harder than a nice, easy and careless little story.
In the last couple of months slowly but surely I embraced the fact that traveling on my own means not the same that it used to mean before. Every single journey changed something in me, adding things and taking away others, shaping me like a gifted sculptor. By now one thing seems to be of utmost importance in my travel life: SHARING.
Because late morning you sip your coffee, watch the light sparkling on the river, your shoulder is heated by the October sun and suddenly you realize that the chair beside you is painfully empty. Nobody to smile to, nobody to plan the day with.
First time in your life you decide to go to a naturist beach, but you are unable to share the fears and curiosity in you. Not to mention the relief later and finally the fact that nudity is the natural state of human body and there are millions of forms and shapes and all are beautiful in their own and you do not ever have to worry if you are not perfectly 36-24-36.
You can’t help watching the ridiculously pink sunset, but the only people you can share your beer with is a complete stranger.
You answer the same questions a thousand times on the axis of ‘whatisyourname-whereareyoufrom-whathaveyouseensofar’, but only one time out of a hundred gives you more than a quick small talk conversation.
You take a good photo and in the moment when you turn to your friend to share your sheer joy you understand that she is not there. You send the picture in whatsapp feeling some excitement, but only fracture of what sharing of the moment would give you.
You sit in little restaurant named Tasquinha do Polvo because you can eat there octopus made in twenty different ways and when you close your eyes enjoying the first bite, there is nobody sitting beside you, so you bury yourself deep into your book as if reading when eating was the best thing that could happen in a good restaurant.
Travelling on your own is not lonely? This is the question you hear the most from people who don’t travel on their own. The safety answer is ‘Nooooooooooo, come on, you are only alone when you want to be.’
But in fact most of the times you make bonds that don’t last long and although the thousand different people and stories give you a lot, from time to time you need to share the experience with those who are there for you even tomorrow. And the next week also.
Recently Seneca’s quote has made big impression on me:
‘Who is everywhere is nowhere. When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends.’
The photos in the blog post are made in Algarve, Portugal.
©Mind the Map / Melinda Egyed