16.05.2009 - 16.05.2009 18 °C
When you have broken out of the routine of daily life, no longer commuting into work, nor leaping from one weekend to the next, you find that your mind starts to wander and you think a lot.
To start with, it's not difficult to strike up conversations with those around you, because the excitement of travel gives you an immediate and easy topic to discuss. But you find that quite quickly the conversation sets its own pattern. You talk about the weather, where you have been, where you are going, where you come from and the exciting things you have done and seen. Beyond that, most people you meet tend to drift off into their own world and you move on to the next person.
As a result, you tend to find you become a little bit insular, in that your mind starts to self analyse your own unusual world and the things that drive you along from moment to moment. Basic needs are at the top of the priority in the mind. Namely, where and when will I next eat and sleep (and poo I guess! they never talk about poo in the management motivational theory books do they?). After that, what will be the next interesting thing I can do and place to go to, where is my next beer coming from etc?
Once those needs have been met, there is still plenty of time to ponder the wider issues, and the mind starts to analyse your own immediate world in particular the relationships with your family and friends. Self esteem is a very important factor, and you find yourself seeking acceptance from others in what you are doing, trying to win praise and buy in for your situation.
You end up doing a lot of people watching too. Wondering what it is that drives people to live in certain places, what it is they do, and what kind of lives they lead. Why do they go to work in some places, what motivates them to keep going in harsh environments.
The reason why I have carried on the odyssey that Lois and I started last year, was to help me clear my mind of the stresses that the last year brought, and to distance myself from the sad events of Lois's illness. Travelling with Lois was fantastic, she was an inspiration to us all, but it took a huge effort from me and the task for me was both mentally and physically exhausting. SO now I need to spend the next few months recuperating and getting my life back on track.
One thing I have already figured out in the relatively short time since Lois passed away is that I am not a loner. As hard as some people may find it to understand, I am already trying to develop a social network of people that may end up with friendships that go somewhere. I don't mind my own company, but I also seem to get on well with everyone I meet, and I feel much happier when there is someone else there to experience the good times with.
Recently quite a few people have said "you're a lovely man, you should get on and be with someone else". I suppose I have not made things easy for myself by continuing my travels, because I am never in one place long enough to actually strike up a relationship, always moving on every few days. So I intend to alter my travel plans when I return from Canada and do less of the longer trips, and focus on short term hops, motorbike tours here and there during the week, the odd sailing trip (still looking for crew) but socialising closer to home when "normal" 9 to 5 people are around at weekends.
I'm not sure at this point whether I am in the market for a long term relationship, or just going with the flow with whoever I meet. It's difficult to say, so I will just see how it goes for now. I know right now, after the year I have had, I want to relax, have some fun, do some exciting things and generally be good to other people around me. It's a very selfish thing, but by being good to others, it immediately reflects back on me and I will feel better for it. And whoever that next person is, I have soooo many things to talk about, share experiences with and have fun with. Life is too short not to make the most of every day.
Some day, a fairy might come along, sprinkle some magic dust my way and brighten up my future. I am sure there is one out there, it's just a case of reaching out for it.