Tag Archives: being alone

Risks vs Reward: Travelling the World As a Single Woman

When I tell people my travelling-for-five-years plan, they’re generally really excited to hear about it, but they also question the safety. Not just of a woman travelling alone throughout all kinds of countries, but of the lack of security that comes from giving up a home.

Another thing they commonly obsess on is how my entire life is becoming an unknown. Folks seem to think is very unsettling.

I’ll confess, I’ve had a lot of these concerns myself in the last couple years as I’ve worked through confronting ‘em and screwing up my nerve to go anyhow. I’ve also been lucky to have a lot of weird little instances occur over the last two years, where I’ve had doubts washed away.

The idea that you travel “alone” is a misnomer. Some of the greatest friendships of my life have lasted less than 48 hours. For a day, we’d live and die for each other. There’s a kinship and connection that develops on the road, when you know this fleeting moment is all you got and maybe it’ll never happen again. I doubt this sense is as strong as it was in the pre-Facebook era, when the odds of staying connected were very low.

To continue reading this post, please visit my shiny travel blog, The Full Nomad, by clicking here. Thanks!

The Great Divide: When Relationships Falter

I read one of my reader’s blogs this weekend and found myself thinking about it afterwards. Now, there’s two takes on this posting of his, and this is the first of them. The other I need to write, and it’ll probably be shorter. Since this posting, he’s had awesome sex with the wife and things are looking more promising. (Again, two words: Cock ring.)

He said the following:

Lately my wife has a new habit of staying up as late as I do. She falls asleep early often, but it is on the couch, refusing to go to bed until I do, which is funny since we all know nothing is going happen there. If she goes to bed, she wants me to use the computer from the bedroom. It’s like she’s making sure I have no life to myself, that everything about me must belong to her.

I am married, not owned.

The last line really hit me. No, he’s not the first to say it, but it’s a powerful statement any time it’s spoken. We are not possessions. We are not commodities. We need air, space, trust, and faith. We cannot consciously be shown on a constant basis that we are not trusted, or not only will the fabric of the relationship shred, but so will our self-esteem.

When self-esteem goes, so does any hope of a genuine relationship. It’s a vicious fucking cycle, and one that’s often created out of the insecurities of one lover not trusting the other. Often, it’s simply communication issues, which I’ll talk about next time.

That previously mentioned distrust can be valid. Very. Infidelity isn’t some urban legend that wives whisper about around the water cooler, in daunted tones like they’re talking about the relationship equivalent of Boo Radley; it’s a pressing concern for many relationships, and something both parties need to work very, very hard to avoid.

Creating an atmosphere of distrust when you have no proof, when it’s just you being insecure or having a bad time of it, is dangerous. You’re creating a bell-jar effect for your relationship. Meaning, you’re conjuring a sense of psychic disconnection from your lover by forcing them to be guarded, defensive, or even secretive.

In talking about the article in question, my loverman and I were discussing how, technically, Haaaaa’s blogging manner is an act of defiance and untrustworthiness simply because he’s airing the dirty laundry without seeming to be working on it with his wife, but that’s arguable, considering that she doesn’t seem to be talking, and just pointing fingers. I commented that I felt he was doing the lesser of all evils; he either blogged about his anger and disconnection in a way to get to the bottom of it or would find some commonality with others out in the world, or would instead find himself an outlet or Band-aid out in the world, via an inappropriate relationship with a woman, or some other negative stopgap.

Let’s say this loud and clear: You do not own title on your lover. You simply have lease on a part of their lives, whether you’re married or not. It is always, always, always in your best interest that your lover maintain some of their privacy and “me” time.

Clichés are true for a reason; the law of averages states that, more often than not, that is the truth in that given situation. Such as, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” The more you see a lover, the more chance you’re running out of time for yourself. The less time you have for yourself, the more the likelihood that your thoughts are getting drowned out in your mind.

You may want to be with your lover every day, but it’s just not entirely healthy. Time alone needs to be had, not just by you, but by them. Men, in particular, need that time alone. Manhood is a fragile thing, and when men get too embroiled in their women, they can lose touch with part of themselves. It may not be an immediately pressing issue, but it will eventually become a problem for both people in the relationship. Women need to be more possessive about their alone time, too, because it’s far too easy to find “self”-worth through a relationship – also a very detrimental thing, and something all too common with chicks.

Personally, alone time is absolutely essential to who I am. I can do without a social life, but I cannot, WILL not, do without time alone. To do so would be to destroy who and what I am. To do so would mean you’d get no fodder to read.

Marriages, I presume, eventually have phases where things get a little crowded. We’re told that, because it’s a marriage, it’s a “partnership” and everything is co-owned and shared, etc. In the end, though, it can’t be. I’ve quoted Grandma Death from Donnie Darko before, and I’ll do it again now: “In the end, every living creature dies alone.”

Between now and your death, make certain that the person who finds their way into that pine box is a reflection of the person you’ve always been. Keep your passions, keep your loves, and allow your lover the time to maintain their own. Healthy people make for healthy relationships.

Each partner must be able to indulge in passions and enjoyments on their own, or soon, they will lose some of their sense of selves, and while the relationship may continue to seem decent in an average kind of way, it’s not going to be same as it once was. Ever. Instead, the relationship becomes a tug-of-war, or worse, routine. Never, ever settle for the routine, and tug-of-wars aren’t worth the energy expended on them.

We can easily forget about the things that make us tick. Face it, life is designed to distract us from unhappiness. Not thrilled with life? The new Audi will solve that problem. Things getting too difficult? The airline has a 2-for-1 deal on flights. Insecurities getting you down? Bedhead’s got great hold in their hair products, and they smell nice, too!

When we’re unhappy in relationships, in life, we fill the gaps with things, with television, with sleep, with food. We do everything we can but face the problem itself, fearing that the cure is worse than the illness – which is often anything but true. Talk to your lover. Trust them. Give them space. Go listen to Sting’s “If You Love Somebody (Set Them Free)” and remind yourself that the song’s just echoing an eternal truth. Love comes back to you. And if it doesn’t, it was never yours to begin with. Again, clichés are true for a reason.

Why it takes so long to leave an unfulfilling relationship is that we can sometimes forget what it was like to be single, and we forget the sense of fulfillment we can take from ourselves. It’s scary, the notion of being alone versus being unhappy and together. The devil you know, etc. Relationships have a way of falsely making us feel whole – until the relationship’s flaws begin to become evident and we remember that, once upon a world, we were a different person with different needs and somewhere, somehow, who we were began to murkily assimilate with who our lovers were, with the lines dissipating in the dark of it all.

We are not possessions. We are flawed, imperfect beings who sometimes need the space to remember ourselves, for our lovers’ sakes. But, mostly, for our own.

Being Alone And Dealing

I’m weird, one of my best times for getting inspired to write is during housecleaning. I think it’s a procrastination thing. I wasn’t planning on posting, but I checked my comments and one made me think. Then I started doing the dishes, and snap, crackle, pop, a memory kicked in, and next thing you know, I sat on down and got crackin’.

It’s not until you’re single and you’re all right with it that you finally realize just how much of society is centered around fitting in and joining the club — getting married, getting laid, getting validated. Society pats us on the back when we find ‘someone’ and if we’re single, we’re told to look at ourselves and find what’s wrong with us, not what’s wrong with them.

Maybe, just maybe, we’re fine. Maybe, just maybe, they’re not good enough for us. Maybe, just maybe, we’re holding out for something better.

I’ve come to learn the hard way that being comfortable with being single is one of the biggest challenges we can face. It’s so easy to run into the arms of someone “who’ll do” instead of toughing it out alone. It’s so easy to stay the course of least resistance in a relationship that doesn’t deserve your commitment. Getting laid is a breeze, if you set your sights low enough.

We’re scared of being alone. I remember my mother breaking down in tears several months before her death, before she even got sick, when she accidentally got stinking drunk (the first time I’d ever seen her drink more than a glass or two of wine) on my birthday and was throwing up and was horribly hung over the next day. I took care of her, cleaned up after her, washed her vomit-stained comforter, and anything that needed doing. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “I’m not scared anymore… I’ve been so scared that no one would look after me when I got old and sick, and now I know I don’t need to worry about that.”

I think we all ultimately know that fear. God knows I’ve been intimate with it.

We’re a tribal society, despite how uncivil we can sometimes be to each other. It’s our heritage, our legacy. We’re in it together… so being alone is something seemingly incongruous to human nature. But we need to know we’re able to handle it, and so few of us ever really try to learn if we can.

We sometimes fail to see how much society conditions us to need the approval of others – from report cards as kids, job reviews as adults, and every fucking time we use our debit cards, it’s all about getting approval. When you’re single and alone, who’s there to give it to you? Who’s there to tell you in the night that everything’s going to be all right?

You. Just you. Me. We’re self-contained, but everything about our society tells us we’re not. It’s a struggle. It’s hard. Never underestimate the difficulty of going it alone, but also, never ever underestimate the wonder of making it work. There is nothing more rewarding than that night when you realize there’s no one in the world that could make you feel better than you feel right then, right there.

Loneliness will always find you, though, but it will always leave you, too. It’s like a tide. It ebbs, it flows, and you just need to find the rhythm.