Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica.
If those three words mean anything to you then you’ll have a pretty good idea about what I did during the nine days I spent alone in La Paz while Will was living the good life in Whistler. Yeah, I know he was there for work and it wasn’t all gondola rides and mountains of bacon, but it was a far different story than the one that was playing out in that campground in La Paz.
The campground that was home to one single camper.
Normally I love being alone. And I thought that, after almost four weeks in the camper together, I’d relish the alone time. You know, I could stand in the middle of the camper and no one would need to squeeze past me, I could slither in and out of the bed and not worry if I was going to kick someone in the head, I’d only have to make one sandwich instead of two.
Will left at noon and those warm, fuzzy feelings lasted until about 4pm. That’s when I started watching TV. The last time Will left I watched Six Feet Under in its entirety. This time I chose The Office. Michael, Dwight, Pam, and Jim became my best and only friends for nine days.
Now some of you might be aghast at this point. You were in La Paz! Why didn’t you go out and see the sights? Did you really spend nine days just hanging out in the camper?
The answer to that question is basically, yes. I didn’t go out because it was too fucking hot. I didn’t head to the Malecon in the evenings to watch the sunset and drink cocktails because it was still too fucking hot. I did go to the grocery store and to the doctor, and I took a whale shark snorkeling tour which provided me with a lovely view of a giant spotted tail in the murky water, but that’s about it.
Oh, and I saw two of Carlos Slim’s yachts.
But other than that I worked, watched The Office, and on one memorable evening I got my skirt tangled in my feet while trying to hang on to Moby’s door and took an epic ass over tea kettle tumble and cracked my skull on the concrete.
I read a lot of blogs about solo travel. About all the ways it benefits you and makes you a better person. How you’re beholden to no schedule or plan but your own. How you really “find yourself” during solo travel.
Well, as my new tagline says, travel isn’t always about finding yourself, unless you find yourself saying “fuck this” a lot.
And as I sat there with my legs scraped and bleeding and still tangled in Moby’s steps you can bet I said, “fuck this”. I said it a lot and I said it loudly.
I don’t want to be that girl who takes a selfie with a perfectly shaped macaron with the Eiffel Tower in the background. I don’t want to be the one who travels solo to Costa Rica to do yoga on the beach and drinks nothing but coconut water. But for those people who travel solo and have a wonderful experience, more power to you. Enjoy that coconut water with your bad self.
When I started this journey more than six years ago I didn’t do it alone. I did it with Will and I’ve always done it with Will. I still want to do it with Will. I (mostly) enjoy every moment we spend together and sharing our journey together is what I want.
It’s not that I couldn’t travel alone, I just don’t want to. Does that make me a bad traveler? Some might say so but then I’d have to get into an argument about what a good or bad traveler is and I’d probably say “fuck this” again and walk away.
So yes, I spent nine days alone. I watched TV. I created a little nest for myself directly beneath the a/c. The farthest I traveled was to the grocery store. I ate salad from a bag and cheese sandwiches. I drank beer and sometimes tequila. I set a timer on the ants to see how long it would take them to carry away the wasp I swatted.
It was nine minutes in case you were wondering.
So what I took away from those nine days were a shit ton of scrapes and bruises and the realization that I don’t want to travel alone. Even in the most frustrating and embarrassing and maddening of times, I want someone with me because it’s during those times when, even though I know I can handle it, I still want someone who’s got my back.
And that someone is right now, at this moment, sitting right beside me. Close enough to touch.