“Why are you alone?”
It’s a fine line between frank honesty and saying something to discourage unwanted interest. You want to attract men? Travel alone.
My vulnerability really dawned on me last night after a few hours spent chatting to some guys staying in the room next door. It was fairly evident I was staying alone, pretty hard to hide the fact when your door is right next to your neighbours.
As the early hours of the morning came, and my new friends became drunker and drunker and spoke more and more heatedly in a language I didn’t understand, I became a little more aware of the flimsiness of my door, the lack of security and the fact that I had somehow planted myself in a guesthouse full of Israeli men. They seemed nice enough, but how does one really know?
I found myself laying in bed kicking myself for revealing too much of my story. Acutely aware I had left myself open and vulnerable. Of course we have to trust to a degree, that people are good. But it’s a fine line between being open and honest, and being cautious.
How clever is our intuition? Can we really trust it? I’m slowly learning as I go to listen to it more and more. The reality is, for me at the moment, it’s all I’ve got. And I’m engaging with it daily. I have to. It got me thinking. Is this intuition, or gut feeling, or whatever you decide to call it – something we can develop and hone? Is it something that we should be using more often in our daily lives?
Is it connected to that voice that says ‘go outside, smell the roses and get some damn exercise?’
To which we may reply ‘tomorrow…’ followed by some half-assed excuse.
Isn’t it trying to encourage us to pursue our passions and the things good for us? The things that will ultimately make us feel better and happier? And if so, why don’t we listen? For some reason we shut it off. Make excuses. Tune it out. It must sit back, our intuition, watch us slave against ourselves and think we are crazy for ignoring it. Maybe we are.
There’s something to be said for those split second decisions based on our gut feelings. They very often seem to be the right ones. And even if we hesitate and second guess ourselves, begin to analyse and question, we tend to come back to that first choice we very nearly made. These quick decisions aren’t calculated, or decided with the mind and its careful deconstruction and analysis of all the pros and cons. They are like a compression of all our experiences into one single moment; all our senses are involved, all our lessons, all our parents lessons, and those of every person we ever met.
These things have become more and more relevant in my day. It’s the difference between having a conversation with a stranger, or not; heading down one road, or another; staying somewhere a little longer, or moving on. And perhaps these things sound trivial, but when you are travelling alone there is no one else to consult, or confer with. So it’s suddenly all you’ve got. You must just decide, and each time you do, your trust in yourself grows. As the time passes, I am enjoying it more and more.
I am feeling steady and am beginning to meet some good people. Some interesting people. Somehow, they are crossing my path in just the right place, at just the right time.
I spoke with a lady from Holland today who gave me some good advice for India.
“Trust your intuition,” she said.
I laughed, because I have been thinking about it a lot lately and it seemed odd she should raise it, simply because of that.
She went on to relay an experience where she had not trusted her intuition in India. Hands were burnt. Lessons were learnt.
We spoke for awhile. She was travelling alone. She was older and had travelled many times. I liked her and we only began chatting because I had asked her to watch my bag while I used the toilet nearby, which was in a room too small to fit my bag and I.
When we parted ways and she wished me well and said:
“You seem like you have been doing this for a very long time already”.
I smiled and told her it was just a bluff and I had only been away for less than a month.
“No, I don’t think so,” she replied.
I’m still not sure exactly what to make of that.
It’s interesting travelling alone. People are intrigued by it. They want to know why, and what you’re doing. I think perhaps, the other people who are also travelling alone, or have done, aren’t nearly as perturbed. It’s the people who can’t imagine doing it themselves – you can see it flicker across their faces as they steal curious glances of you when you’re eating alone.
I’m becoming slightly immune to the questions now, and have spilt an array of reasons for my solo status based on my intuition at the time. Sometimes it’s the whole truth, sometimes half of it, and if things feel particularly unsafe, then none at all.
The Israeli men finished up their party next door and didn’t bother me. The fear was really in my own mind and grew because I had begun to grow too complacent. It served as a gentle reminder to stay focused, and keep listening…