Episode 2: HIT THE ROAD
After few days spent with my family in Paris, it’s time to leave… for good. Forewarned is forearmed, things are not going to be always easy but at least I better know what I go for. During two weeks I will be following French rivers Loire, Saone, Doubs to then join the Danube in Germany. Calm, nice and flat way to hit the road…. It is also for me the time to face the main challenge of the solo traveller with more serenity.
Solitude is a special guest for a solo traveller. Like a mother in law, she invites herself when she wants, usually at the worst time (when you feel lonely) and without notice. With her around, it is sometime difficult to find the motivation to go on but also to do things as simple as cooking, washing and sometimes even eating.
Therefore after few days, I decided to kick her out of my trip when I didn’t want her to travel with me. And I found three “none technology” related solution for it.
The first one may be obvious, I Talk to everyone I meet. People usually need a reason to engage the discussion. When there is none, I will create one. Should I wait to be lost to ask my way? Should I feel desperately thirsty to ask for some water? Should I need something to ask?... After few days on the road alone, I get the answer. Unless I want to speak really few I don’t need to wait to speak, to ask, to share. Every single time I do so I create an opportunity. An opportunity as I never know where this discussion will lead me. I have been offered a place for the night after a five minutes discussion which started by me looking for the nearest food store! Will it be just a smile or a longer discussion with locals, I eventually find it easy to kick her out, bring some fun and sometimes some very valuable tips.
The second one was less expected. I threw my GPS away!! Well, as it’s on my mobile, I just switched it off. My mobile could be useful after all. A GPS usually does perfectly what it is designed for. It will bring me to my destination, for sure. It will show me my way step by step and keep me focus on it. Not a very social way of travelling. Time to try a different strategy, go and get some nice paper map! Paper map will keep me busy finding my way but not only. I may be lost sometimes, I may ask for some advices and I may choose my own way. And on top of all this, People usually love to speak on maps. It is funny and for me the best way to show where I am going and where I come from. I had the best fun and the most valuable advices speaking with locals on my maps. I had once not less than ten people speaking on my map about the best road to take. None of them agreed with each other’s. I didn’t get an answer but many options, and more than anything else a lot of fun.
The third one is routines. On the road there is so many things to see and do every days. They will keep me busy enough to forget about her. Between cycling, pitching the tent, cooking, washing… every day is pretty busy. If you add on top of this the blog I am working on, it is difficult to get bored.
It took me only few days to figure this out. And it has completely changed the face of my trip. Now loneliness travel on her side and sometimes she joins me… but only when I invite her. The rest of the time, I am with nice people met on my way.