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My Traveler Fatigue::Backpacker By Creation, Not By Nature

April 26, 2007

::IwillreadthisthenextimeIamdesperatetoleavethecountryaloneonatightbudget. IwillreadthisthenextimeIamdesperatetoleavethecountryaloneonatightbudget. IwillreadthisthenextimeIamdesperatetoleavethecountryaloneonatightbudget. IwillreadthisthenextimeIamdesperatetoleavethecountryaloneonatightbudget.::

OK , so I left Chile on Saturday and I´ve been on my own since then and let me just say I am going out of my mind on my own. My friend I met in Chile that I convinced to meet me here just arrived a couple of hours ago and I am completely psyched. I have decided this week that I am too damn social to travel alone for months at a time.

Don´t get me wrong, traveling by yourself is quite wonderful for alot reasons but mainly because there is no compromise, ever. You do what you want, when you want, how you want, if you want. There´s no making suggestions and no attempting to find middle ground. You hate parks and walking around but love to shop? DO IT! You love sitting on the beach all day while you watch yourself turn colors and could care less about sight seeing? DO IT!

You make all the decisions, all the time. That is the glory and the horror of traveling alone. There is no one to help figure out where the hell you will stay next, no one to suggest another way for you clean your underwear in the sink, and no one else to eat dinners with. Sure you are constantly meeting other people who are traveling alone, but sometimes a friendship is forced more out of necessity than the fact that you really like them and frankly I´d rather be alone than hang out with people I despise. Most of the time anyway.

To people at home I´ve been “alone” the whole time, though in truth you are never truly “alone” because there are always tons of people to meet. Since you are constantly meeting people you are not technically “alone”, but rather hanging out with virtual strangers all the time. Which is FANTASTIC!! ….at first. However, it gets old not having any roots, and hanging out with virtual strangers all the time can put one on the right on the cusp of loneliness so that when you are truly alone…you are alonealone. I have a theory that it´s easier for men than women to do the single travel thing for a few reasons:

1. They aren´t constantly worried about the safety of numbers. They worry about getting robbed, but they don´t worry about getting snatched, raped, and left for dead the same way women do.

2. They don´t tend to have as close intimate relationships with platonic friends in their “real lives” anyway so meeting new people and having these weird shallow travel friendships isn´t such a change for them.

3. Men tend to be way less picky than women so they can be happier in much shabbier accommodations.

Which brings us to my next point. I´m sick of this traveling/backpacker/budget hotel/Guesthouse shitty accommodations thing. I am ready to now accept that I am just used to certain creature comforts and I go a little nuts without having them. I like showers where you can control the temperature, houses where you can control the temperature, having a place to hang your shit up, unquestionably clean sheets and towels, and not having to carry all of your shower things down the hall in a Ziploc bag. Give me the Hilton! Where is the Crowne Plaza! Point me to the Ritz Carlton! Donde esta La Sofitel? When I travel I want fluffy beds that SMELL CLEAN (I mean damn you could at least fool me), an attached bathroom that gets cleaned everyday, a television with CNN and BBC so that I can know whats going on in the world in English, and a concierge to tell me where the hell to go to get a good meal and what the hell things like “acardeje” are. I need conveniences! I need comfort! I am backpacker by invention, but not by nature.

I´m tired of sleeping on itchiness. I´m tired of every place I stay in smelling like piss and mold. I tired of feeling run down because I´ve been out of allergy medicine for a month and none of the pharmacies seem to know what the hell pseudophedrine is. I´m tired of freezing. I´m tired of sweating. I´m tired of frightening bathroom situations. I am tired of always feeling half clean. I ´m tired of living with strangers. I´m tired of one shitty European after another. Frankly, I´m just tired.

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