In 5 days I will be at the Calgary airport, waiting for a first a flight to London and then to Prague. For the first time in my life I am going traveling by myself. One month in Central Europe, and it starts in 5 days.
I know almost nothing about Prague. Amanda has been and liked it, and I have read that it is well known for its parties, but that is not what drew me to wanting to go. It is a little weird and random but the thing that really made me want to go is a building and a cafe that opened up late last year. The institute of crypto-anarchy and cafe that only accepts Bitcoin. I read about them on Reddit a few months ago, and immediately wished they were in my city, and then wished I could go check them out. I wasn’t actually thinking about going to Prague at that point, only fantasizing a bit, but it got me thinking about spending some time staying in the Czech Republic. Two months ago I booked a ticket and in less than a week I will be there.
A few months ago I realized that I was scared to be alone. Amanda was staying in Calgary for a few nights and I was home alone. I was at home by myself, lying in bed trying to go to sleep, and worrying about someone breaking into our house, wondering what every sound I was hearing was. I was scared and I was lonely, I wasn’t comfortable being alone with myself. I realized that something needed to change; I wanted to feel more comfortable with myself, so I thought about spending a month abroad by myself.
It is a little ridiculous that I was scared to be alone, because I would not be much safer if Amanda was there and someone broke in, but nonetheless I was scared. I have not spent much time by myself. I moved out of my family home at 17, into residence at university, probably the most social living situation I will ever experience. From residence I moved into a house with 4 friends, once again an extremely social living situation. From that university house I moved in with Amanda, and we have lived together for 3 years now. So I have never lived by myself, and I have never really gotten comfortable being alone. I have always had people I knew around me to make me feel safe and to fill holes for me. By filling holes I mean other people making up for my weaknesses. I had a lot of social anxiety so I felt really scared, meeting and getting to know new people. Having social people around me meant that I could meet new people without actually taking much emotional risk. Being home alone and feeling scared and lonely made me realize that I can be more independent, that I need to trust myself more if I want to have a healthy relationship and be able to accomplish the things I want to accomplish. I thought I would learn a lot by travelling for a month by myself. I started thinking about where a good trip would be, and eventually I settled on Prague and bought a ticket.
Some of you might disagree with me thinking that I need to be more independent to have a healthy relationship. You might have been indoctrinated with the idea that dependency and obligation are the foundations of a relationship. That being feeling needed is important. From my experience a feeling of need between partners brings nothing but resentment and hate.
When you think that you need the person you are dating you become very afraid of your relationship ending. The thought of being alone becomes scary and you eliminate the possibility from your mind. When you think that you need to be in a relationship, you lose the sense of wanting to be in a relationship. It is now something you have to do, not something you have chosen. Choice is a necessary precondition for wanting something. Think about a time when a superior at work or a parent has told you to do something you were already going to do; it makes you not want to do it anymore. If you are forced to do something it is impossible to know if you like it or don’t because you have no choice in whether you take the action.
A good example of this is food you like now, but you hated as a child. When you have made the choice to eat the food you can appreciate the positive characteristics, but when you were a child and you were forced to eat them, you didn’t have time to decide if you like it or not.
In a relationship where the individuals feel a sense of need towards each other there is no space for like, or desire, or love. The sense of need has closed off the possibility of the relationship ending. You feel like you are in the relationship forever and you lose the fact that you are choosing to be there. You cannot really want something you have no choice about getting.
Going traveling alone, I hope will make me realize that I can take care of myself, that I am an self-reliant, independent person. I believe that two confident, independent, self-reliant people are the necessary foundation for a healthy relationship.
Trying to improve myself in order to have a healthier and happier relationship is not the main reason I want to go traveling alone. The improved relationship is a side effect of the increased self-esteem that I believe comes from traveling and especially from traveling alone. Traveling teaches you that you are able to face any challenge you face, and that you should not be afraid of most of the things you are afraid of on a day-to-day basis Improving self-esteem is the reason I want to travel alone, and a improved relationship I believe will be one of many side-effects.