Every time spring approaches, I start dreaming of travel. The reality, however, has not always been as pleasant as the dreams. Fact is: I absolutely hate journeys. I love visiting new places, tasting new food and seeing something different from the habitual, but everything else surrounding travel is either too stressful, too overwhelming or too bloody inconvenient.
My relationship with travel started out like the average young person’s: backpacks, trains and Couchsurfing. I travelled alone and if these experiences gave me anything, it’s the conviction that I can manage alone. Even when practically penniless and lost in a strange city at night. I had a few mishaps on my journeys as well. They might make for amusing tales, but it is not for tales I travel. I travel for beautiful and unforgettable experiences. But – I blame this on being a highly sensitive person – with such a pace, so many stimuli, so much organising and no one to rely on but me – I didn’t make many beautiful memories. When everything is too overwhelming, it seems my brain stops storing memories at its usual level. Mostly, these trips are a blur, with a few more luminous spots.
So, the next step was to try and travel only if there was someone waiting for me at the destination country or if I had a companion with me. I also found it very helpful if I could stay in one spot for greater lengths of time and only make day-trips elsewhere. That eliminates the need to book a ton of hotels, make sure you find them and the constant packing won’t be necessary either. It gives travel a more leisurely pace.
Yet, long and inconvenient journeys to the destination spot remain. I do not fly, one may say I have a fear of flying. This means I travel by train or bus. Imagine sitting 18 hours on a cramped bus. It bores the life force out of me. Watching films for 18 hours doesn’t work for me. I’m also incapable of sleeping while travelling, so when I reach my destination country, I’m most likely: a) grumpy beyond belief b) starving hungry c) looking like a slob d) sleep-deprived. I feel sorry for people who need to meet me or who travel with me. I obviously have a low tolerance for being stuck in one small place for great lengths of time.
I’ve fallen in love with the idea of road trips. Road trips may spell to a lot of people the epitome of inconvenience, but for me they signify freedom. They eliminate a lot of stress-sources. I’m not bound by anything. If I get fed up with driving, we can make a stop anywhere. If I want to wash, we can book in a hotel. If I want to eat something other than a sandwich, once again, one can stop and do just that. No tight schedule. Absolute freedom. If all hotels are full, one can sleep in the car or set up a tent some place. I have only made short road trips so far, but here is hoping this mode of travel turns out right for me.
I have a good feeling about it. It seems to be the right mode for me at last. I love leisurely pace and independence. In everything, not just travel. Doing things in my time, not after a schedule imposed by train departure times and hotel check-in hours.