Friday, 20 November 2009

I wondered lonely as a, well...duck, actually.

I've always found staying as a guest in someone elses house for any length of time quite hard. In many ways it should be the easiest thing in the world; you get a free bed, free nightly meals, local advice, suggestions, a living room and all manner of other home comforts.

Aside from saving money, staying in a house means that you can ease yourself into your first couple of weeks in a new country. I found adjusting to the time difference particularly hard and was grateful for my own quiet space when I was waking up throughout the night, as anyone on my Twitter at 4am Australian time would have discovered last week. The family I'm staying with are nothing short of lovely; extremely laid back and very much of the "help yourself to anything" school of hosting. The best kind, in my opinion.

However, no matter how many times you're told to make yourself at home, it's always difficult to relax completely. You find yourself hoping for a little bit of time to yourself, where you don't have to watch your manners, talk about your day or worry that you're eating the wrong thing from the fridge.

Today I took myself into the city and found myself in Perth's Kings Park with a book and a curious duck for company, purposefully staying out until the evening in the hope that everyone might be out when I got back to the house. As antisocial as it sounds, I didn't want to be invited out. I've spent the day with myself, talking to no one, watching couples canoodling in the park and soaking up whatever rays get through Factor 30 suncream. I've wondered around, written in my diary and walked off last night's excesses. But after a couple of weeks of wanting just that, here I am on my own, feeling quite lonely.

It's times like this when I wonder if I've done the right thing, if travelling on my own was something that suited me when I was single and 18, and not an attached 25 year old. I'm finding myself wanting company - but not just randoms - when I've been so adamant that it's not what I want at all.

I know this is a sign that it's time to move from the comfort of the house into the discomfort of hostels. I need to meet people and start travelling, find my way. But I suppose tonight, sitting on my own in my room, in a quiet house, in a country where I don't really know anyone, I'm finding the prospect all a little bit daunting.

15 comments:

Christmas Tart said...

My word .. you're away abroad, far from all your home comforts, and yet you're still blogging. Bravo, Jo!

(by the way, this message was meant to be full of admiration and not bile-filled cynicism - which is how it sounded in my head just now when I read it back)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Hehe hello Christmas Tart...you are becoming quite the baker, I see!

And yep, for now I'm blogging, although things might be a little less regular the further i get from a city...

not twitter said...

We naturally migrate to a state of comfort. Making yourself uncomfortable is unnatural but, as you recognise, necessary to GET the experience.

The weather looks shit by the way.

pinkjellybaby said...

I feel like that and I'm at home. I'm sure after another few days and once you've met some people and had a good night out, you'll feel much better x

Kirsty said...

Hope you feel better soon! You're going to have such a wonderful time and experience. The first wee while is bound to be wobbly. Enjoy the solitude, and enjoy the socialising. Finding the balance is the only hard part.

Elaine said...

Yep, find that balnace. Take time to reflect but then get up and kiss that duck goodbye and walk right into those situations which are just waiting for you. It sounds so exciting from this end but we're not there; you are.

Wishing you lots of love, luck and courage. With you every step of the way BIG GIRL xxx

cynicalscribble said...

I was going to say similar to what Elaine said.

This is the one thing which I think I'd struggle with too, however I also know that it'll just work itself out...and it will for you, you'll be fine Miss Jo :)

roseski said...

I know how you feel... Although I was only in India for 10days I had doubts about why I was doing it alone.

But soon you'll realise you're not totally alone, and you won't just have randoms for comfort... Because at some point there'll probably be someone you end up spending more than 24hrs with and in an incredibly short space of time they won't be randoms. Friendships form so easily when you're away from home.

So... I hope you get your head around it soon! xx

Huw said...

Oh yes, you have reached the age of the tortured grump: where you can't quite stand your own company, but you certainly can't suffer the many fools of this world either. I too have been abroad alone, and suddenly felt out of sorts.

I would recommend hitting the road, and suffering those fools until you find someone you click with.

Grump said...

I hope your mood has changed by the time you read these comments. Do you have plan of action? Once you start travelling I'm sure you will be happier.
Mark x

Ellie said...

Ups and downs. To be expected. Enjoy! xx

lapa said...

And so so far.

One Fine Weasel said...

Early-days wobbles; all part of it. Go with the flow, and savour the moment a few months ahead when you look back and see the friends you've made along the way and how far you've come (in an insidey sense, not a geographical sense!). Nothing wrong with talking to ducks, btw, I do it all the time.

Time Traveller said...

Seeing other couples was the hardest thing for me. I could deal with being on my own, wandering through Tasmanian pine forests and sitting along drinking in a Tokyo bar with no contact with the outside world - in a couple of words 'pretty damn lonely'. But I didn't have a boy waiting for me back home.

Try and enjoy yourself, you're not running from anything so try and enjoy your travels, make the most of it and remember all you have waiting of you when you get back.

You have us for company as always :)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

not twitter - It's awful. Truly. This sun is hell on earth...

pjb - I'm sure you're right. I think I know that too, sometimes you just need to wallow a bit I suppose.

kirsty - That's true, finding the balance is what it's all about.

elaine - thank you, you're right- i know it sounds all very exciting to everyone else, but the excitement hasn't really hit me yet!

cynical - In contrast before i left being alone was the thing I was least worried about. I'm sure I'll enjoy the independence once I get going.

roseski - Yeah, I think I just need to get out there and meet people and some travel buddies. Sounds like every lone traveller has the same doubts!

Huw - Beautifully put. Wise words as ever!

Grump - I'm heading north. then east. And yes the mood has lifted slightly.

Ellie, Lapa - Indeed. Thank you!

One Fine Weasel - Actually, ducks are very good company. Quite inquisitive little creatures.

Time traveller - Yeah seeing couples all cuddling and being soppy over eachother in parks is quite hard. At least I will have an abundance of that in 5 months. Just seems like so long to wait sometimes.

 

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