Teaching Moments In Solo Travel
This photo was a teaching moment for me – it was taken in my room at a not so pretty hostel (it was a dud). There was no door knob and to lock it from the inside was a simple slide latch and a brick I found on the floor. On the outside are two hanging screws with loops and a padlock you would use for a garden shed. Today, I’m not sure if the shower will work, but the optimist in me is hopeful.
Did I not read the reviews before booking this place? Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. It could be that I had grown complacent in my month in Zorritos and decided to take a chance on the price. That’s irrelevant now, and to be honest I’m glad it happened early on in my travels. It reminded me to be more present in my decision making, and if things don’t go to plan, I will take it as it comes. In a few months, this just becomes another story I can laugh about.
The saving grace of this hostel? The location. Yesterday I walked to the beach to watch the sunset. Sunsets near the Equator are something else – the way the sun turns from amber to red as it glows brighter in the sky. Then in the few minutes after, it continued to paint the clouds, lingering in the last light of day. When the breeze grew stronger, I picked up my shoes and walked back to the hostel. It’s also close to most of the bars and restaurants so I didn’t have to catch a moto.
They say that what frustrates you is more a reflection of yourself than the situation or person. The end of October marks two months that I have been living off my savings and travel money, and even when I start my teaching placement, I won’t be paid until the end of November. As my cash dwindles, there is a growing focus on my lack. Here’s the reality of the situation, if I made a more concerted effort to stick to my budget (and eat more like a local), I have plenty of reserves. It won’t be five star hotels, but there’s also no need to stress about it either. Adjusting from a lifestyle where I earned a decent wage to a travel budget just takes some getting used to – back home money came easy and I also spent it way too quickly. Success with money isn’t about how much you have, it’s understanding its value so you can do what you want.
Making my way south to Trujillo, then Huaraz is really the first time I’ve been on my own in this trip. In Zorritos, we lived and studied at the hotel, and even if I didn’t always hang out with the other teachers, they were just around the corner if I needed a hand. When you choose to travel solo, it can feel overwhelming to make all the decisions on your own. Even back home, I have accidentally booked “horrible” hostels, it’s only because I’m in a place I’m unfamiliar with that made me freak about it.
How did I get through my freak out yesterday? I sat on the bed, closed my eyes and meditated. I asked the Universe not to change my situation, but to help me to trust myself more. To adjust my expectations and learn to go with the flow. The anxiety stemmed from knowing that this is the beginning of my solo travel. Of course, I’m going to make mistakes, and hopefully those lessons will teach me to make less as I go along.
Travelling in developing countries have their good and bad days – adjusting to the way of life, language barriers and cultural differences just to name a few. Before I left New Zealand, my sister gave me advice that was exactly what I needed. It goes something like this, “Remember that you chose this, so make the most of it. You’re doing this for yourself, not for other people, it’s not your job to live up to their expectations of what this trip is about. Don’t worry if things don’t turn out like you wanted them to, it will probably be better anyway. Always be grateful that you have an awesome place to come home to because a lot of people don’t even have a home. Oh, and if you meet a guy that you’re into, don’t chase, trust that if they’re meant to be with you it will work out somehow.
She tells me what I need to hear to help me get through my insecurities and doubts because at the end of the day, it will be up to me to make the most of my time here. I feel grateful to be able to do what I’m doing, to be here on my own terms. Oh yeah, I managed to book a better hostel room (just down the road in fact) for a few hours before my bus trip tonight. Sure, it’s money I didn’t really want to spend, but the room is clean and there’s Wi-Fi.
It’s high tide and the Pacific Ocean is rough – although I can see surfers still catching a few. I’m excited for my little holiday in Trujillo and to eventually see my new home in Huaraz. I may not be able to plan a schedule the same way I do back home, but I’m slowly figuring out how things work around here. They say good things come to those who wait, I think my life is already pretty good so I’m hopeful that even better is just around the corner.
Ronna Grace Funtelar is a thirtyish storyteller, creative, writer and slam poet currently based in Peru. She is a hobby hiker, photography and sunrise enthusiast with a passion for mindfully helping others live beyond their comfort zone.