In the last five years I have lived 3 months in London, 7 in Greece, 3 in Peru and I came back to Seville where I said farewell to my friends and colleagues. Afterwards I lived 9 months in Croatia, 6 in Canada, 8 in Indonesia. 4 months in Thailand and I spent the last year traveling the world as filmmaker on-the-road of the best women's cycling team.
I started traveling when I was 21 and at the age of 28 I have visited over 50 countries. Every time I started my journeys I did it alone and I always ended up accompanied. Each adventure has had its challenges and adversities but every experience has made me stronger. After several years on the road I managed to identify the symptoms and now I am able to self-diagnose myself: I suffer The Lonely Traveler’s Syndrome.
The human being is social by nature; he searches for support and shelter in collectives where he finds affinity in order to feel stronger. Civilization is evolving towards a mass society, where the behavior of the global population is regulated by trends and standards of conduct that that rule over the 90% of our time; what time we wake up, what time we should go to work, what is the right time for breakfast, lunch and dinner, what is the most convenient time to go to bed…and even on how to dress, what music to listen and what technologies to use in order to do not feel excluded.
Our human relations and habits build during years our comfort zone. If we are sad, having friends or relatives next to us is going to cheer us up; if we happen to wake up euphoric and joyful, the fact of being surrounded by people who are not will calm down our emotions; if our opinion is clearly divergent, the general judgment will eventually make us believe that we are wrong and we will end up complying with the established belief as the proper one.
Thus, those social and human factors which are unavoidably part of our daily basis offer to us emotional stability at the same time than a comfortable affection that relaxes our senses and focus our approach in a gentle way. However, when you start traveling alone, you stop having those references and your emotional functions end up working out in a more independent and autochthonous way, something that has both its positive and negative sides.
To live constantly meeting and finding out new peoples and cultures certainly happen to be an enriching factor of self-development. You extend your view and personal borders of conception coming to find out that everything in this life is subjective.
You meet wonderful people and, occasionally, outstanding individuals, inspiring human beings that just with their behavior, way of life and respect for their principles and values play a remarkable influence on the people around changing them for good.
I have always believed we are born as empty bottles and the influence of the people next to us keeps filling that bottle which forms our personality, having the opportunity of learning to choose how much of each person we want to add in our bottle.
When you spend lot of time all by yourself, free of references and trustworthy opinions, you dance with the risk of raising your judgment over the rest of the people’s. The internal fight against ego is the greatest battle for a traveler to wage.
Every person we can meet in our way has something to teach us and it is in the capacity of listening, perceiving and appreciating the small things around us where the key of success relies, defying, of course, ‘success’ as the constant process of learning and human self-development.
When traveling, finding out new cultures and working in different environments, it is often unavoidable to face situations we are not used to and behaviors that seem odd to us, irrational and even some times unfair…but it is right in those moments when we have the possibility of maximizing our learning and development if we are capable to relax and expand our mind.
In my case, I have usually spent just enough time in a place in order to start building great friendships…just right before departing towards somewhere else. I dilute the nostalgia and longing of so many beloved ones spread around the World with whom I cannot share as much as I wish in syrup of pure life that offers me new teachings and adventures every day.
Lacking a collectivity rationing my emotions, often I come to develop the certainty of having a thousand friends, that every human being is amazing and that life is wonderful, while often I happen to believe that I am completely alone in my fight living in a huge World filled with selfish and proud people.
Inevitably, we need much more time for making friends than for losing them and as life goes on and I keep on walking, occasionally I end up feeling like there are a lot of people behind accompanying me but very few doing it by my side.
Thus, The Lonely Traveler’s Syndrome is characterized by an emotional instability and an alteration in time and space perception after resetting your conception and connecting with the basic and fundamental, with the origin. It is the mix of the adrenaline feeding the uncertainty with the improvisation of the moment. It is not knowing if life goes too fast or time is endless, if having a million friends or just very few real ones, if the World is enormous or is a really small place.
As in each syndrome, the first step is identification, the second is acceptance and the third and last one, the solution. In my case, I consider the syndrome I suffer the gift I have the immense fortune of living every day. I believe there is no better way of facing it than taking the best of every second and people I have around to keep learning and evolving.
Life is today, here and now, wherever you are, whenever it is. To smile happens to be the most efficient way of changing the World and I am committed to keep my personal revolution all over.
Although I travel alone, I know that my path is being walked by all those who walk by my side.