Day 150: Popayan, Colombia
Long-term travel is a mental marathon. It has its ups and downs and when you are down – boy are you down. When you travel solo you can’t direct your anger at other people, it just festers inside. Instead of hating the person you’re traveling with, you hate the world and you hate yourself.
Yesterday after a 17-hour race to Colombia to avoid being robbed on a night bus I was overtired and stressed and walked right through the wrong door by going online. When I left for my trip I had some unresolved issues – don’t we all. But instead of them going away they just morph into a new beast, one that you can’t deal with directly because you’re on another hemisphere. Going online when you are overtired and cranky only ignites the ticking time bomb.
And while being in a foreign land often helps give you perspective, 12 hour buses give you too much time to over analyze everything. It’s true: You can’t run away from your problems. In fact, leaving just exaggerated mine.
So yesterday sucked. Today I woke up ready to explore Popayan but it turns out all that suppressed anger turned into a big ball of rage and everything that has bothered me about travel came to the surface as I angrily took photos walking around town.
Finally I returned to the hostel, accepting that I wasn’t enjoying the morning. I am writing this post with hope that expressing the negativity will release the beast. So here are 12 things I hate about traveling:
1. I can’t understand Colombian Spanish. People keep telling me it’s the cleanest Spanish but all I’m experiencing are a bunch of mumblers who are possibly using vocabulary I don’t understand, all at lightning speed.
2. Hey dude on the street, if you want my attention how about saying hola instead of trying to touch my arm. I don’t find it endearing and instead I wonder if you are contemplating assaulting me or simply stealing my camera.
3. Why are the buses so f’ing cold here? People should not need one set of clothes for their daily lives and one set of clothes for the bus. I’m from Canada so I’m used to it being cold, but really does it need to be 0C in the bus when it’s 40C outside?
4. My favorite pair of capris from Old Navy have a hole worn through the ass, now I am in a race to find new pants before people point out they can see my undies.
5. I miss Central America. It seemed familiar/safer/nicer/cheaper. I felt like I belonged there. Here everything is so much harder.
6. I still have no idea what I’m going to do when I get home. Where’s the big epiphany? I sold everything so I have nothing to go home to: no job/apartment/boyfriend. Just a backpack of stupid clothes that have holes in them.
7. No one ever wants to sit by me on the bus. I’m like the plague, locals get on the bus with a panicked look wondering if they can find another seat. They can’t? Okay they’ll stand.
8. No wait some people do want to sit by me, they are 300 lbs and when they sleep they did their elbows into my body. Great.
9. Sales girls who follow me around the store. I just told you I was only looking and that I was fine. You don’t need to be two steps behind me. I know I’m wearing pants with a hole in the ass but I swear I’m not going to steal the clothes here.
10. No one respects a line up and thinks it’s okay to step in front of me. I’ve tried hissing at a few people. It doesn’t work.
11. Sometimes I’m really lonely and I wonder what the hell is wrong with me that I’m 33 and I can’t seem to be happy with a normal life like everyone else. Am I missing some DNA that would allow me to have a life without needing to wander around the world.
12. I hate being an ungrateful complainer. People would kill to do this and I’m whining about petty things.
Today I am grateful for this hostel. It has a massive video library so I’m going to watch Team America.
And while I don’t want to wallow in self-pity (okay I do today, but I swear only today) I hope those who are reading will share the things they hate so I don’t feel like such a privileged jerk. I promise if you share your ridiculous complaints I’ll pull myself together and write a post about all the things I’m grateful for.