I can see on the extended forecast that it will be raining in Hong Kong the day I arrive. Not that this particularly matters, since I’ll be in HK for about three hours before connecting to Bangkok (and then Delhi, and finally Kathmandu), but the fact that I can even see the date March 19th closely enough for a weather prediction is pretty exciting. Feeling so close to leaving (9 days!) has resulted in a frantic attempt to finish everything on my “to-do” list with rapid efficiency. With that list complete, and my bags packed I’m struggling to find things to do. I’ve researched the heck out of my itinerary, and everything is in order. So now, I wait.
I feel pretty neutral. I attribute this to feeling equal parts pure excitement and great nervousness about being on my own. So combined, I’m just somewhere in the middle emotionally. I’m hoping on this trip, as a part of being on my own to get better at being truly alone with no external focus to occupy my attention. No project usually equals slowly slipping into insanity. My mind is a scary place, truly, if it has nothing to focus on it sort of turns on itself. As a result relaxing is a puzzling idea for me. Put me on a beach for an hour with no book and I’ll spend that time planning out what I’m going to do after that hour is up. Or else, contemplating a variety of alternate paths my day, week, life could take. Or maybe virtually building my future kitchen and debating between burnt orange and slate for the tiling, which I will procure from Heath. My brain just won’t shut up. This is not a quality I enjoy.
I want to be better at being alone. Alone physically (no people I know) and mentally (other stimulation-like TV or the interwebs). I realize, like much of my generation, I’ve lost touch with this basic human ability and even grown to fear it. While eating at a restaurant or going to a movie alone doesn’t bother me (because stimulation of some sort exists) the idea of spending an entire week alone somewhere (like a beach with no electricity) actually really freaks me out. Either, I would get over this fear of loneliness, or go totally crazy. My bets are on the latter. It’s almost like I fear myself.
An interesting side effect of travel has been this new need to eradicate myself of fear-not of the rational sense, like fire or giant snakes-but of the socially or personally inflicted variety. If I’m afraid of being alone, I want to be alone to fix that. If I’m afraid of heights I want to skydive (I am, and I do!), if I’m afraid of commitment, I want to commit to something more permanent (this being my ultimate struggle-I’m working on it…). I just don’t want to ever hold myself back from something fulfilling, or exciting, and potentially life changing. Loneliness is on the top of my list for this trip. And what better way to tackle the fear than to throw myself into a foreign country where I don’t know anyone or speak the language?
It makes me nervous, naturally, but nervousness is just a precursor to growth right? Provided the nervousness doesn’t win, of course.
Now to just hurdle myself from a 160m high bridge attached only by a rope. Yeah…we’ll see. Baby steps.