I really enjoy solitude. It’s something I’ve always been comfortable with. I do feed off the energy of others on occasion but being happy on my own is something that I think is my ‘go to’. The last week I had on my own as I drove up from Tierra del Fuego to Buenos Aires has been absolutely wonderful.
One thing my girlfriend has noticed, probably quicker than I have, is that I absorb so much if what goes on around me, even when I try to not let it. When that energy is positive is in an incredible force for good, albeit I then probably take on too much thinking I’m invincible. Alternatively, when things aren’t going quite so well, when the energy is negative and problems abound all around me, it weighs upon me. Like a ship ploughing ahead at sea and slowly picking up barnacles and seaweed, I gradually the wind has less and less effect on my sails.
Whilst in the city, I feel the need to sit and try to do some mindfulness exercises, to think, and to calm my racing mind. And yet whilst travelling I haven’t needed to at all. Whats more, which is odd for me, I haven’t even thought about it. Yes, I have a lot going on with driving, researching, taking care of my travelling companions etc but to not even think of it speaks volumes.
There are many foreigners around me chatting away in Puerto Valdes on the Argentinian Coast, but I like sitting here writing, listening to the waves crash, watching the tide rise, watching turkey-vultures glide on the breeze, looking for orcas. Sometimes work or relationship thoughts emerge, trying to drag me back to my usual life, sometimes I even dream about the work stuff which is frustrating. But I am resolute and try to distinguish those as quick as I can, and am fortunate enough to even be able to do that when I dream. What I tell myself is: does it need to be solved now? More often than not, the answer is no. Troubles that can be solved today can probably be solved tomorrow or in a week or in a month. Concentrate on the now, enjoy the present of the present.
Perserverance and Luck. There is a saying that a leading football club owner didnt want a talented skilled manager, they just needed a lucky one. In the 6 weeks leading up to my arrival on the small valdes peninsula, an american tourist had paid a lot of money to travel from his homeland to stay on the peninsula for 6 weeks to photograph orcas beaching themselves to eat seals. He didn't see a single orca. As for me, I rocked up at one spot and within 2 minutes saw a pod of 4 orcas nudging up the coastline, 3 large and a baby. A few weeks ago I filmed a glacier calving at the right spot because I guessed correctly. No skill is involved whatsoever, just luck. But there is a line there - how much persistence and perseverance makes your own luck? If that poor and actually now poorer american had stayed another two days, he'd have seen 7 orcas attack the beach. Staggeringly frustrating.
When Enough is Enough
For me, I never know when enough is enough - to count your winnings or your losses, and then walk away happy. Logically, it has to come down to cost-benefit i.e. does the benefit outweigh the cost that youre giving (money, time, love). Can you do something for less cost and get better, equal or near-enough benefit? As i write this, I sit this as I wait for one high tide at Shark Attack Beach! Chances of them arriving are low...and yet! Theyve been spotted in the area two days in a row. For me, I have to drive 1500km in the next 52hrs, so have it all to do. The difference though would be driving 1500km in 55hrs. When it comes down to it, its marginal. And if I'm lucky again, that 1500km will simply fly by with wonderful memories of orcas catching seals, singing songs and playing the harp. If not, I can reminisce about how lucky I was....or more likely, what a fucking waste of time that last 4 hours was, and aren't I old enough to know better? And when does that saying start to really bring home the bacon?
To add to it, its colder today, the sun being swaddled by cloud, more cloudy to make the lighting harder for photographs, the push for perseverance is harder. Harder and colder. The more you want something, the higher the cost. And the sun has just come out.
I wake up every morning feeling like a gorilla has taken a mallet to my back. Unfortunately, it’s a bed I’ve made for myself, and that’s literal and metaphorical. My camper has beds and desks that I made: the desk is working out fine, the mattresses seem to be made of some kind of material the core of planets are made of.
I’ve mentioned in my other blog that life and the microcosm of travelling are similar in many ways: everyone is on a journey of their own making, paths cross, you navigate through the problems to the best of your ability, and you make of every situation the best you can. Despite being twee, it’s probably true. The guiding principles behind it though are, I think, as simple as fear and hope. It’s striking the balance between the two that matters, and the overriding one will dictate the way you see any situation, how your day will turn out, and how your life will eventually unfold.
I am full of optimism and hope at present. Sometimes I let the fear get the better of me, and I’m full of self-doubt, and I don’t so much as solider on but putter with utmost caution. Yet I’m never one to dress up my doubt: I never sit there and lie about whether I thought I was on the brink of disaster or not. I don’t learn anything from that. Overall, I think it’s about trusting yourself, about backing your instincts. And if you cock up, hopefully someone is around to catch you. As with a Russian couple travelling to Brazil on their Honda 125, struggling in the wind and with a broken chain, it only took a passer by to offer some help and a spanner and they were on their way again. If it wasn’t me, it would have been someone else. Life is good like that.
It’s time I headed out into the tourist wilderness again in Tierra del Fuego, where tonight I shall find another camp spot and hope I get another good night’s rest on my slab. I fear I may have made my bed too hard, I hope my back gets used to it.
Writing and writing...