The Silver Lining/Solo Travel Pt2

p8cvVmW“I want to travel, but i’m scared to go alone”.

I was too once upon a time, and an unlikely turn of events kicked my ass right out my front door. 

 

Disaster strikes at the most inopportune times.  From my last post, here: (https://gypsyprofessor.com/2018/01/24/on-the-path-to-solo-travel/)

I was all set to book tickets to south eastern Europe, only waiting on my friend to stop by and pull the proverbial trigger on airfare.  We had waited for weeks. I was pouring over Instagram and travel forums looking at pictures of Sarajevo, Skopje, and Dubrovnik. I was obsessed with getting over the pond. It had been far too long. I missed the feeling of the unknown, the swirl of foreign languages and the assault on the senses.  We were all set.

My buddy’s excuses had put pressure on the entire process and played a bit of pinball with my level of anxiety. Almost a month delayed now, he finally  showed up, but not to book…to give me one final, and fatal fucked up excuse.

“Hey man, bad news, I don’t think I can pull it off, I cant get the time off work..etc, etc.

All of the eye roll emojis in the world could not convey my feeling at that moment.

 

I was crushed. 

 

Absolutely crushed.  I felt betrayed, frustrated and pissed. My carefully constructed plans dashed and disregarded. But there was more.

Dubrovnik

Now that I was in my doldrums, I walked away from the computer and my buddy  for the remainder of the afternoon. I went for a walk. I  attempted  to console myself with other options, a road trip maybe, or something domestic. I pondered and I plotted. Tied up in a knot of frustration,  and angst, I felt no progress near at hand.

Eventually that night, I ended up back at my place, and in a deep google routed rabbit’s hole. I ended up falling back on some trusted wisdom from some personal favorites. Bukowski, Hunter S Thompson, and Henry Miller.

“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”  -HST
I peeled back a few layers of the onion and thought about why I thought I had to rely on other people for this particular dream.  I realized that nothing great comes easy. The people around me had 1,000 excuses not to pursue their dreams. I had reached a point where I refused to be one of them.
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“Fuck it”
“I’m going solo”
This was one of the most defining decisions of my life. As of this writing I have traveled to 69 countries. Some years I travel over two hundred thousand air miles. Travel becomes an obsession. Words like “tourist” no longer have any meaning for you.    The vast majority of these adventures  have been solo. Christmas in Sarajevo? Or Perhaps visiting an elephant sanctuary in Sri Lanka? Few are signing up for that.  That’s perfect.
“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it. It’s like boats. You keep your motor on so you can steer with the current. And when you hear the sound of the waterfall coming nearer and nearer, tidy up the boat, put on your best tie and hat, and smoke a cigar right up till the moment you go over. That’s a triumph.”
Either embrace the unknown, or get comfortable in the wet pantload of your excuses to stay stagnant.  It  was time for me to take flight. Lets grab this ticket and make the most of it!
Aw shit. Another hurdle rises in the mist.   My saved routes to Budapest, Vienna, and Zagreb had doubled since the afternoon…I’m in the zone though, I cant be stopped. Embrace uncertainty, shed the illusion of control right?
So I rolled the dice, I frantically dissected the map of Europe, I held my breath for that sheer burst of serendipity, shit, I would have been ecstatic for  divine intervention at that point as well. Into the wee hours of the morning, the siege on my ticket prices finally broke. What a 3 am Rush!   Where am I going to land?!
Ladies and gentlemen… Looks like we are headed to Lithuania!!
Wait, what? Lithuania!?
Giddddddy Up!
Baltic adventure/pt 3  coming up next!
Happy weekend!

On the Path to Solo Travel

3 years ago I was super stoked.  The summer had descended on Michigan, I had a teaching assignment at the college secured and a great group of friends. I had gone through a wrenching breakup a few months previous, and had reorganized/re focused my life in a drastically more positive direction. (You know, that good growth stuff of your late 20’s) Now,  I had traveled before, I had been on a few study abroad excursions, and had made some amazing connections over the pond.  It had been a year or so since I had been abroad.

The itch was real.

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I thought about it constantly. I began mentioning to my group of friends casually.

“We should totally hit Europe this summer”. I wanted  miles under my feet, and crazy new sensations. Those damn motivational prints all over social media haunted me “Not all those who wander are lost” Etc, etc.

I began hatching some carefully constructed plans, seeing how I could convince my buddies to come along.

Finally after a few weeks, one particular friend who had never been outside of the country, declared over beers “Im in”! And the planning began in earnest.

Where would we go? I was keen on the Balkans, and the Baltics. I was planning on roughly 10 days. Swayed by the scenery of Croatia, and the mountains of Bosnia we decided on the former Yugoslavia.

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At this point I was watching flights daily, frantically refreshing, waiting for just the right combination, connections, and overall logistics.  I would text my buddy my findings through out the day

“Dude, DTW-BUD now 550$”

He would reply “Yeah man, lets do it!”

Later, when it was time to book, some sort of excuse would seemingly always emerge. I was getting anxious, watching flights rise and fall like the stock market. While trying to set a day to book I would read more about our intended region

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Sarajevo in particular looked beyond kick ass. The history, the culture…the food! I wanted to book NOW.  It was ultimatum time. Either we are booking or this, or it’s a no go….the day comes, we are getting together after work, its time to lock this in….

 

and then disaster strikes.

 

Pt 2 coming up next!

 

leave some love!