We can travel away from everything except ourselves

My gloriously tidy hostel bed in IguazĂș

This article marks two years of writing articles each week consecutively. The last time I missed a week was in January 2022. And it just so happens that I’m writing this one from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I’ve been posting pretty frequently on social media around the different things I’ve been seeing. I didn’t really have a set intention to do so, but I just felt like getting the thoughts out of my head and into the world.

Throughout my posts, I wanted to ensure that I kept a level of grounded realism about travelling. We’ve all seen the exotic lifestyles being portrayed on social media that are far from reality. Instead, I wanted to talk about how I genuinely experienced the parts of my trip.

I’ve been sick pretty much throughout. I’ve generally been fine enough to do what I had planned, but the constant coughing has made it tougher. I also came into this trip with probably the least amount of enthusiasm I’ve ever had for a ‘grand adventure’. I was, and still am, in the midst of some soul searching as we hit 2024.

The untold truth about travelling is that whilst it can be great, amazing, breathtaking, it is still living life. There are exciting moments, and there are boring moments. Nothing illustrated this better to me then when I went to the IguazĂș waterfalls and saw amazing things in the morning. By the afternoon I returned to my hostel bed with very little to actually do. I ended up scrolling more on social media than I would have done at home.

The one person we always travel with is ourselves. Many people travel the world to escape their lives, only to find themselves still unhappy 5000 miles away. Travel can do many things, but it won’t fix your happiness. Only you can do that for yourself.

For me, I recognise that I’m having a moment in life where things need time to settle. It’s like a operating software update – until it’s done, I’m a slow-moving loading screen. This would be the case if I was in snowed-under Brussels or travelling across Patagonia. There are no shortcuts in this game.

Fortunately, I have the wisdom to recognise this point. Although there were moments with getting anxious for not ‘enjoying this more’ or getting frustrated with my body for getting sick, I could realise that this was just part of life. I can feel what I’m meant to feel. I don’t need to change anything.

On a positive note, yesterday was the lightest I’ve felt in a long time. Despite still coughing a lot, I felt a sense of floating through life again. I noticed the beauty of the trees. I noticed the smiles of the people around me. I wanted to wave my body with music. I felt a greater sense of inner peace. I think the software update is getting close to completion.

It’s funny that after a period of angst and confusion, there simply comes a point where it just passes. This only happens if we learn to process the emotions without either avoiding them or hanging onto them unduly.

Whatever hardships or challenges we have faced, one day we can wake up and see the beauty of life again.

This too shall pass.

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