"You know that's super contradictory right?" That's what a good friend said to me today while I was trying to explain to her how I've been feeling. While I tried my best to explain to her how comfortable & confident I feel taking off on a trip overseas by myself, sometimes spending days alone before meeting a group of people. Yet being alone in my life here in Vancouver is something that's a source of anxiety, I'm not sure it's something that's easily explained to anyone (myself included). How can I be totally comfortable putting my life into a backpack and taking off for a country around the world but this move across my own country has left me feeling anything but okay. What's the difference between being alone in you're "own city" (Vancouver) and being alone in a foreign country like I've done countless times now?
If you've been keeping up to speed with my current life in Vancouver then you'll know that I'm still not 100% sold on this place (hence referring to it as "my own city"). As beautiful of a city as it is, it's by far one of the unfriendliest cities I've ever been in-which totally takes away from some of it's beauty. Knowing that there are well over 600 000 other people in this city & I've yet to meet one whose made me feel welcome? Yeah that's a bit brutal if you ask me. Now, that's not saying that there aren't any nice or welcoming people in Vancouver, but my experience in the last 10 months hasn't brought me to these people- and the ones I have met through different jobs or living situations who've been great? Well they haven't been from Vancouver; they like me are transplants from all over-The UK, Australia, NZ, Ireland, & mostly other provinces in Canada. I've tried to get my mind back into travel mode by taking off on the weekends outside of the city to go hiking or exploring new places, but some weekends there's a lack of funds, or a lack of great exploring weather or whatever else comes up and I'm left with two full days on my own in a place that makes me feel more lonely than ever. I dig a bit of "me time" as much as the next person, but when you realize that when the mood strikes and you want to go for dinner or even just coffee with someone your contact list becomes pretty empty. Yes, I have a lot of great friends in my life, and it's true that I would gladly have 3 close friends who I can talk to about anything and who support me and want the best for me (and vice versa) over having 30 flakey fake friends. However, all my great friends live on all sides of the globe - Australia & it's cute boys (now husband actually) stole one of my bffs, the other still calls Montreal home, Ontario has got one of the best girls I know living it up with her pug baby, The UK, USA, NZ , & countless other countries/provinces are home to some of the greatest travel friends I've ever made. So as awesome as it is to have those people spread out over the world (aka even more reasons to travel) it's a sore spot when you really just want to go for lunch with someone-sadly the power of instant travel hasn't been invented yet (I'm working on it though).
So where does that leave me now? No close friend groups? Alright that's something I deal with when I'm traveling. I can't take all my besties on the road with me even though I wish I could. But it's something I deal with, but now I find myself still using Whatsapp or Facetime or whatever other social media outlet to keep in touch with my friends & still left feeling anxious about the lonely vibes I've been getting in Vancouver. It's something I'm trying to understand the best I can, how being alone can feel so ridiculously different in you're "own city" compared to traveling solo for months on end. More than anything the one thing I am certain about is how much travel is still left in me. I was born to do it, and even though at this point continuous travel isn't something I can be doing (saving up and trying to make plans at the moment) I know that I prefer a nomadic life to a sedentary one. Yet, I still wonder what the difference been solo life & solo travel is that's got me feeling this way.
All of this has me thinking, is it just me? Or is something other travelers go through at some point in their lives?