I am now 10 days into my brief, and somewhat unexpected down time in Texas, and I must admit to now going a bit stir crazy. It has been awesome to visit with family, and equally nice to finally see and explore Austin, but now, well now, I am ready to roll.
It is hard to describe how things get a little twisted up when you are used to being on the go and then suddenly must stop. I have been struggling for a couple of days now trying to come up with the words to describe it, but I am still at a bit of a loss. I think that is primarily because all of those crazy emotions of loneliness and emptiness manifest themselves when I stop, as apposed to when I am in motion. When in motion, the days are full of energy, discovery, and the mission. Somehow, stopping for a prolonged period of time sort of twists things around.
These emotions don't present themselves on the much needed rest days or even discovery days when you have reached a destination and are now going to explore for a day or two. Instead, it is that prolonged downtime that must allow the mind way to much time to think about things like friends, relationships and possessions. When I enter a city for some period of time, these are the things that I see, they are everywhere I look, and I think because of that I can't help but become hyper-sensitive about them.
On the trail, these are less apparent, and thuse more easily pushed into the background noise of the over clocked brain. On the trail, I become so preoccupied with the mission of the day -- scenery, miles, weather, food, shelter and the performance of my body, that those other things just are not what the brain spends its time thinking about. I don't mean to imply that it is better to be alone, just that if you are alone and travelling that way for an extended period of time, then a prolonged down time in a city turns from being a rest stop to a bit of an angsty one. If you are in a city where you don't have friends, I think things get amplified even more.
One of the questions I get asked most often is if I get lonely, travelling like I do. My answer has always been no, and I don't think that will change right now. But it is definitely harder to stay in that place of peace; that place I call my 'Center' when the down-time days begin to stack up. I was reading another blog last night, that of two long distance travellers, who like me have given up their home for the journey of the trail. They talked about their current downtime in a new city and how it presents challenges not found on the trail. It was interesting to read and gave me some comfort that I am not alone in how I feel.
This is definitely what happens to me and the position I currently find myself in.
Sorry for the rambling but I needed to write and just let this one flow as it came out. A tinge of sadness has been with me for a few days and writing and expressing myeslf always seems to help.