In recent years I have lived 3 months in London, 7 in Greece, 3 in Peru, I returned to Seville where I said goodbye to my colleagues and friends, after which I lived 9 months in Croatia, 6 in Canada, 8 in Indonesia, 4 months in Thailand, I spent 2 years traveling the world with a cycling team and now live between Berlin, Zurich and Madrid.
I started traveling when I was 21 and at 33 I have visited more than 80 countries. I always started each of my trips alone and always ended them accompanied. Every adventure has had its challenges but each experience has made me stronger. After several years on the road I have managed to identify my symptoms and be able to self-diagnose myself: I suffer from Lone Traveler Syndrome.
Human beings are social by nature, they seek support and refuge in groups among which they find an affinity to feel stronger. Civilization is evolving towards a mass society, where the global behavior of the population is regulated by fashions and standards of conduct that govern 90% of our time; what time to get up, what time to go to work, what time to have breakfast, lunch and dinner, what time to go to bed…and even how to dress, what music to listen to and what technologies to use so as not to feel excluded.
Our human relationships and behavioral habits build our comfort zone for years. If we are sad, having friends or family by our side will lift our spirits; If we wake up euphoric and extremely happy, the fact that the rest of our loved ones are not happy will calm our emotion; If we think something different, the general opinion of the people around us will make us think that we are wrong and we will end up accepting that what is established is correct.
Thus, these social and human factors that constantly surround us offer emotional stability as well as emotional comfort that relaxes our senses and focuses our human progress in a peaceful way. However, when you travel alone you stop having those references and your emotional functions end up functioning more independently and autonomously, which has its positive and negative aspects.
Constantly getting to know different people and cultures is an undoubtedly enriching fact; You broaden your horizons and perspectives, coming to understand that the vast majority of things in this life are relative. You meet wonderful and sometimes extraordinary people, inspiring human beings who simply with their behavior, way of life and respect for their human principles and values change the people around them.
I have always thought that we are born as empty bottles and that the influence of the people around us fills that bottle that makes up our person, having the possibility of learning to decide how much we want to add of each person in our bottle.
When you spend a lot of time alone, without references or opinions that you consider reliable, you run the risk of elevating your opinion and judgment above that of others. The internal fight against the ego is the greatest battle that a traveler has to fight. Everyone has something to teach us and it is in the ability to listen to and appreciate our surroundings that the key to success lies, defining ‘success’ of course as a process of constant human development and learning.
When traveling, discovering and working in new cultures, we often encounter situations that we are not used to, behaviors that seem strange, irrational and sometimes even unfair. But it is precisely in those moments when we have the opportunity to maximize our learning if we are able to relax and expand our mind.
In my case, I have spent enough time in many places to build great friendships…just before having to leave for another place.
I dilute the nostalgia and longing for so many loved ones scattered around the world with whom I cannot share as much as I would like in syrup of pure life that new adventures and teachings offer me every day.
Without having a community to regulate your emotions, you often come to think that you have thousands of friends, that everyone is great and that life is wonderful, but sometimes you feel that you are completely alone in a huge world full of selfish individuals. Inevitably, we need much more time to make friends than to lose them and as the years go by and you continue walking, sometimes you end up having the feeling that there are many people accompanying you in your steps, but very few by your side.
Thus, Lone Traveler Syndrome is characterized by emotional instability and an alteration in the perception of time and space by resetting the conception of them and reconnecting with the basic and fundamental, with the origin. It is a mix of the adrenaline of uncertainty with the improvisation of the moment. It’s not knowing if life goes very fast or there is time for everything, if you have thousands of friends or just a few real ones, if the world is an enormously large place or a small place.
As with any syndrome, the first step is to identify it, the second is to accept it and the third is to look for a remedy. In my case, I believe that the syndrome I suffer from is the gift that I am fortunate to experience every day and that there is no better way to face it than to take advantage of each of the seconds and people around me to continue learning.
La vida es hoy, aquí y ahora, allá donde esté y cuando quiera que sea. Sonreír es la forma más efectiva de cambiar el mundo y tengo decidido continuar mi revolución.
Aunque viaje solo sé que mi camino lo recorren conmigo todos aquellos que caminan a mi lado.