I have never travelled completely by myself before and I’ve often wondered what it would be like. Would I be lonely? Would I be scared at night? I’m a bit of a chicken when it comes to being alone in the dark. Solitary walking for days on end, you find out things about yourself.
Life in Israel for me has been pared down to the bare necessities; food, water, shelter, and warmth. I have had the time and space, without the stresses of normal societal life, to just enjoy being. A boy that I saw on the trail, surrounded by his buddies, asked me if I was bored when he saw me walking alone. I was stunned – bored! I have wondered many things about travelling solo but not once did I consider the possibility of being bored. I looked at the scenery and historical sites through my own eyes, without distraction. For years, I looked at many things through my parents’, my kids’, or my husbands eyes. It may sound weird but on this trip I have remembered how to see through my own eyes. Often, I would choose a random person, imagine them wrapped in clothing of the past and I would conjure up an entire story about their life in the castle or tombs or wherever. When I was young my imagination was full of colour and texture and more than once I have mourned its loss. But the creative juices flow more freely here and it’s been fun playing with stories again.
We all have a load to carry. Walking alone, the weight and onus of your emotional cross rests squarely on your own shoulders. You come face to face with the sticks and bones of your personality and the measure of your mettle. With the exception of the odd time when jackals (not coyotes as I previously thought) were howling at my tent door, I have not been afraid of the night, which was a surprise to me. Even shimmying out of my sleeping bag to pee, I greeted the darkness with detached steadiness. There have been times when I was lonely, and I have missed my family and friends enormously, but for the most part, I have been comfortable in my company, happy to wander at will, enjoying the freedom to indulge in my extreme frugal side. Fortunately, my super duper spidey senses have not led me astray. And if they have, the heavenly roll call who assigns only the most diligent to my detail have picked up the slack.
Jen was a great travelling companion with her grit and her humour. Climbing mountains, bruising our butts sliding down dry waterfalls, quietly chatting in starlit desert nights by the fire are treasured memories. While we didn’t complete the entire Israel trail as planned our adventure was rich and full and I am grateful we had that opportunity. Her body is back in Edmonton but she has been with me in thought and spirit every step of the way.
I have appreciated your emails and comments more than you can imagine. Hearing from you always made my day. Especially in my lonely moments when I felt very far from home, a few lines letting me know that you enjoyed reading the blog were like little bolts of joy for me. Being severely techno challenged, writing and sending the posts took far longer than I care to admit, but it was my way of sharing the adventure. So thank you for reading, and for hanging in with me. It’s been a treat. If I have any advice to impart, it is to trust your instincts, allow yourself time to do what you love, and always pee downwind. And maybe on the last night, don’t push your luck. Just take a hotel. See you on the flip side!
Next post – the riveting continuance of trying to grow blueberries in Balderson