The Travel Slump

Oh, the elation one feels running through Bali’s streets barefoot in the pouring rain with a fresh pineapple juice in hand! I can almost feel the reverberations of the entire Indonesian community’s sigh after an extensive time without rain. Their rice fields were thirsty, now they are wet, and the peoples, jubilant!

At the moment I’m climbing a ladder out of a deep dark hole dubbed The Travel Blues after mourning the loss of a travel companion to the sandy coastline of Australia and hearing of Mum’s cooking via email. With each rung I make progress: write a horrible poem, read a book, write 1000 words on your novel, Skype someone you love. Everyone’s ladder looks a little different, but when you’re climbing it, it’s pointing the same way every time: up. 

I think it is important to address the dichotomous slump that usually comes two or so weeks into an extended trip. You are not hungry and yet you would die for some home made chocolate pudding. You feel hopelessly lonely and yet liberated all at once. You desire someone’s company but not their choices. You want a cheap hostel, but not the hallway sex, the lack of air conditioner and the squeaky beds. You want, but you don’t want.

Sometimes you have those days, and when you enjoy sharing your life, your adventures, the books you read and the things you learn with the cyber world like I do, it is necessary to break through the barriers and say that you’re feeling a bit shitty when you do. Apparently there’s an art to getting the balance right - in being able to say you’re feeling blue without sounding like you’re an attention seeking douchebag or, otherwise, remaining silent and being perceived as someone who has an idealistic, impossible kind of lifestyle. I maintain the view as penned by David Arnold in ‘Mosquitoland’ (which I read cover to cover yesterday- hit me right in the feels…): ‘Because even though honesty is hard, you really have to murder people with it if you expect to be a person of any value at all.’

I briefly posted something in this vein on Instagram yesterday (a straight A insta-murder of honesty, guys), and felt a communal understanding from fellow escapists and adventurers. It was almost as if we were reaching through time and space to hold hands and say yes, I feel you and no, I’m not judging you who slumps in the corner of the hostel lounge room doing nothing but scrolling the internet and flicking through pages in your novel. Do what you’ve got to do, babe.  This was another rung on my ladder mastered: understanding.

Tomorrow marks the final step in climbing out of this. I can see it vividly now. Change. I’m catching a plane to Kuala Lumpa to meet with a very dear friend to begin a new chapter, and the prospects of such a change absolutely invigorates me!

Until then.