I have often traveled alone. And come to think of it, I have lived alone. That sounds like a bit of an ‘awww’ moment but to be honest I’ve actually enjoyed it. It’s easier to be confident in solitude, but also, you get your own way all the time.
When I backpacked across the UK for a month I was on my own most of the time, and I generally enjoyed it, although it required a survival attitude at the same time. It did force me to seek company at times, people from the street, in a life in which I constantly was on the move, and to a degree it sucked. And yet it tested me as well.
My instinct is to go off and do my own thing, and call that independence issues if you wish, but I have soon-to-be-housemates in Peru who make me glad that I don’t have to do things on my own most of the time. They are four friends who have within six weeks somehow seen me at my worst, and yet here they are, still playing bullshit with me while drinking wine. That’s what we’re doing now (or at least between card games while someone goes on a vino run).
Adriaan, my South African mate, is probably one of my regular readers. He’s a giant of a man, a former car salesman, and he loves his cigarettes.
When I first started writing about my travels in Peru he was the first to encourage me. He knew when I would not write a blog, and acted disappointed. But he also was among the main ones to note when I did my own thing, and when I was being anti-social.
There was a moment when we were swimming with large turtles, and I regretted not bringing my camera, and he said, “you have a mind camera in here,” and what he said was so true.
Then there’s Lutie, and he’s alright. He thinks he’s Barney to my Ted (a How I Met Your Mother reference), and sure we talk about the bro code a bit.
Here’s the thing about Lutie, which has only taken me six weeks to realise. He brags that he is a doer, and he acts sometimes like he doesn’t think about life. He is quick to accuse me of ‘overthinking’.
But the thing about Lutie is he sells himself out a lot. He’s deep. Or maybe I’m a good influence. Without this guy I would have gone insane in Peru, and we relate in many ways.
And then there’s the third South African in this group; Nicola. She has the most amazing laugh I’ve heard, and you just can’t help smiling whenever you hear her, even if she laughs at her own jokes. The thing about this woman is her wisdom, and her ability to say hard truths at the times you really need to hear them. She’s usually right, dammit!
Then there’s Amy, my ally among the South Africans. She’s Canadian but is a tough and a fearless person who usually leads us in what we’re doing next. In many ways she’s the one that holds us together. And we’re both thick as thieves. Once we both got drunk and went to see a movie together, in Spanish!
And then there is me, and I’m just as important in this party of five. I may be awkward, but the others are just as awkward even if I’m the only one that looks it! Saying nice things about myself doesn’t come naturally, so I won’t, but what I will say is I’m really lucky to be living in another country with this mob.