Why I’m happy to be an anomaly*

*that’s a blip on a graph not a sea creature

I’m not normal; I think that’s pretty self-explanatory from the way I write.  But what I’ve realised over recent months is that I’m not normal in my social circle either.  I had very little in common with my family and friends even before I went backpacking but now that I’ve come back?  Even less; especially now that I’m heading to Africa!

 

Many years ago my auntie was the most travelled doing tours of Russia and China etc and my father went 5* around Asia before I came along but no one in my family has been backpacking and they certainly haven’t done it solo.  They’ve also never been away for as long as I went to Asia for (3 months).  It meant that I had no one to ask for advice when it was crunch time.  No one to ask which route would be best, which places to avoid or best activities to do; I was totally alone.

The same goes for my friends.  None of my friends have ever been backpacking and no one even had a desire to!!! (I know, totally jaw-dropping isn’t it?! I mean, who in their right mind wouldn’t want to travel?!)  They weren’t interested in the long-haul stuff or backpacking and definitely not solo; they thought I was mad and told me I would die within a month (yeah, thanks for the encouragement).  They were more scared than I was about going.  Though FYI, if you tell your mother that you plan on going travelling solo around Asia randomly in the car when she’s driving, you’re not going to get a good reaction from her either! Yes, that’s exactly how I told her.  She didn’t speak to me for the rest of the journey haha.

 

HOWEVER

On returning it meant that I had TOTALLY kicked butted in being able to research, organise and plan everything from my flight out to travelling etc and booking activities and hostel stays along the way without the help or input from anyone.  From start to finish I had done it by myself; a level of proud I couldn’t begin to hope to put into words particularly because of everything that happened before I’d left.  I hadn’t even got involved with the travel world on Twiter by this point either – I was totally solo loco!

Now I can say the same for Africa!  Not only has no one I know (real world anyway) been to the REAL Africa but they haven’t backpacked, over-landed or travelled through 7 (yes 7!!) countries in 6 weeks!  The only people I know (through the amazing Twitter) that have travelled wildly through Africa are Caz and Craig at yTravel Blog and Michael at Africa Freak.

If travelling solo in my social world means that I have to do everything for myself from beginning to end then I’ll do it because what a great feeling it is to say that you’re the first to achieve it!

I DID go to Asia. I DID go backpacking and I DID it ALL SOLO!

So I would like to formally announce that I’m a blip in my social circle (not the Google+circles though I’m on there too) and I’m in love with it!

What about YOU?  Did you have help or do it all yourself?

 

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16 comments

  1. Roy

    Nope, have to do it all by myself. I tried to ask around if people wanted to join me but they weren’t interested. Most people are afraid.

    But you know what bothers me more… After I came back home I was a totally different person while everyone expected me to be the same. This still gives some tensions now and then but hey, I am what I am 🙂

  2. Woohoo for mould breakers! I had travelled only with family up until my first big solo RTW trip and all my friends thought I was barmy!
    I was lucky though because my first stop was a Summer camp in the US so I made friends whom I visited whilst travelling (and it was nice to just stop and be in one place for 3-months!)
    I’d also just begun using twitter and about a week after landing in London some random person who I knew through another random (but Australian) person asked me to meet up with them. From there it was a great friendship (with whom I ended up crashing on their couch for two-weeks or so because I ran out of money :/) and many more blogger friends.

    And I can’t wait to do it again. 🙂

  3. @Roy – I’m very much like you. One of the main reasons I went alone is that I didn’t have the ‘right’ kind of friend I wanted to spend that long with (haha) but you’re right that a lot of people are also scared of it. And big ‘high five’ to the ‘everyone expected me to be the same’. It’s hard to show people isn’t it?! You come back looking and sounding the same and yet, your whole philosophy on life etc has changed and you’ve grown emotionally. Well, I for one will join you and stand in your social circle with you =)

  4. @Nicole – BIG HIGH FIVE on being mould breakers =D It’s a big leap from holidays to backpacking isn’t it and I guess it’s hard even your friends and family haven’t done it, to try and understand why YOU would want to go against conformity and take that leap. I think Twitter is THE place to meet friends (Facebook is where you lose them lol) that are like-minded and actually, speaking in 140 characters forces you to show your personality much quicker…it’s a great place! Here’s hoping our paths cross one day =)

  5. Roy

    @Toni haha, thanks for that. I thought I could spend a long time abroad with some friends but now that I have already done it, I’m not sure. Fortunately you can meet a lot of like minded people in this world :-).

  6. Nice Post. I wrote a post about how I travel and my wife doesn’t about a week ago. I’ve been thinking about following that up with a post like this- about how I feel out of sorts among people because very few people in my circles get my obsession. I had a friend of my wife’s who started to talk to me about travel and late told my wife he was amazed at how much I came out of my shell during that conversation. He’d always considered me dull and kind of stand off-ish before.

    I’ll probably write that post with inspiration from you- but I ‘ll wait a couple of weeks. I doubt I can express it as well as you did here.

  7. @Roy – Personally I feel closer to the people I met on the road and my fellow bloggers on Twitter than my real friends…they actually understand what you’re feeling =)

  8. @Erik – I read your post – I can’t image how annoying (no offence) it would be to have a husband that didn’t want to drive…well done you =) Nobody understands my addiction for travel either…it’s not something you can explain easily is it? ‘Dull and stand off-ish’ – wow, how rude! It’s funny you should mention this though…people say that when they watch me talk about travel, they can see my face light up…makes me smile just to hear that! ‘I doubt I can express it as well you did here’ – awww shucks, you’re making me blush! hehe. You’re a great write Erik; don’t doubt yourself =) I look forward to reading it!

  9. My family is all pretty well traveled, however they all keep asking me when I’m going to settle down. I am 27 (28 next month) and I still don’t feel that urge to shack up with a man and start popping babies out. That’s just not me! My family is content on going away for a week and coming home. That’s not nearly enough time for me.

    My friends, on the other hand, are all idiots. None of them understand why I want to leave THEM. The few people that I have spoken to about my plans have simply said, “Oooh, just make sure you go somewhere nice so I can visit.” Eff that, deep down inside I know that they won’t hop their asses on a plane and come see me.

    Having the travel bug sucks, especially when no one you know can relate.

    -1
  10. @Elle – yikes! That’s a lot of family pressure! Have your family EVER been backpacking or just holidays? That’s possible why they don’t understand the pull for you?! Mine don’t understand either but they at least say ‘have fun’! =) I don’t think I could ever do anything BUT backpack these days so high five to you =D Wow, your friends don’t sound much better either (like mine) haha. You want to discuss your bucket list agenda and the adventures you had on your last trip as your face lights up just talking about it and they just want to know if there’s a party at the weekend. There’s no one to pour over travel books with you or talk about that ‘really cool’ documentary you watched on your bucket list destination and it can make you truly feel pissed off and upset. You can share it with me any day of the week =D

  11. @Roy – Yes, I learned that too. My buddy and I always try to recruit others for our trips abroad, but seldom does anyone else go. They always come up with excuses not to go. But that’s life…we still have fun on our own so I don’t worry about it! We did, however, get 5 people living in Greece last summer on Santorini — best summer ever 🙂

  12. @Drew/@Roy – I think a lot of people LIKE the idea of going away etc but they just don’t have the courage for it or don’t have enough passion to find the money etc so they back out which is a shame…they don’t realise what they’re missing! Personally, now that I’ve travelled by myself, I couldn’t image ever going with someone else. I travelled around Bali for two weeks with friends I’d made and whilst they have become friends for life, it felt nice to get back to being alone =)

  13. I love being an anomaly! I do have a brother that is the same way though and he pretty much inspired me to travel the world forever. Other than that most of my friends don’t get it, but that is okay. you’ll find more anomalies on the road to hang out with.
    Dare to be different- it’s far more exciting.
    Thanks for the shout out too about Africa. Craig and I are amazed that no other travel bloggers have really been there. It is such an amazing experience and you are going to bring something new to the blogging world by going there.

  14. @Caz – It’s funny that you should talk about anomalies on the road…I think I found more in common with them (and now people through Twitter) than my own friends which I have to admit I kind of love! And you’re right…being different is always more exciting; what stories I will have to share later in life!
    You’re welcome for the shout out…like you I was pretty shocked that so few people have extensively been given that its such an unexplored culture and adrenaline-junkie heaven! Can’t wait to start writing about it =)

  15. While my family has done extensive travel in the United States, none of my family members have passports. It makes me really sad, but sometimes people are really set in their ways. My friends don’t really travel all that much either, but luckily, my friends and family are both very supportive of my decisions.

  16. @Sheryll – none of your family have passports? wow! I’ve heard people saying that but yikes! You’re like me – friends and family don’t really get it etc but they’re supportive. Good job, otherwise how else would I meet you?! =)

    -1