Good Fortune Taken for Granted
There are three things you need to know before you read any further:
- I have been travelling solo for nearly four months at this point.
- I’m not poor, but I’m not loaded either. I’m on a budget.
- Today has been a shit day.
Now, I wasn’t expecting rainbows without rain and I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be sunny for my entire time abroad. There are always going to be latitudes the sun doesn’t grace with its presence as often as others. I see myself (as I think others do) as quite an outgoing and optimistic person; I don’t know too many people who would up and leave home on a month’s notice.
I try not to complain.
However, I am currently on a Greyhound Bus from Whistler to Calgary with a short stopover in Vancouver. I’m deathly cold because the bus was an hour and a half late and I had to wait in the foggy drizzle at the bus station. My right shoe decided that today was a great day to get a puncture from a particularly sharp stone, so the inside is filled with water; it’s drying on the floor in front of me. For the same reason, I’m also only wearing my left sock. The right one is clamped between the footrest and the seat in front.
My feet are wrapped in my gilet. I hope some of the feeling comes back soon.
These long journeys (this one is 21 hours – my next, Lake Louise to Toronto, will be 64 hours straight) can get particularly lonely. It’s great travelling solo, honest. Being completely independent and generally choosing my own route without hinderance is great fun. I’ve combatted loneliness by means of CouchSurfing or staying in hostels – meeting people – but these long journeys do get a bit tiresome when the most interesting thing sitting next to me is my backpack.
Although, I suppose I have met people less interesting than my backpack, so it could be worse.
I am on a budget. I have to remind myself of that sometimes. Especially when I see a sushi restaurant. So, will I buy a new pair of shoes? No. I’ll buy some duct tape and try and make them a bit more waterproof. That’ll save me 40 bucks. Will I write to Greyhound and try and get compensation for the tardiness of its service? Already have. Awaiting response. That might get me 20 bucks back.
Money-wise, there is only one thing I dread: having to sleep outdoors because I haven’t been able to find a host on CouchSurfing and can’t afford a local hotel. This, annoyingly, is looking like the outcome at Lake Louise, a popular tourist destination that hotels take advantage of. I’ll keep looking and hopefully it won’t come to that.
“You said ‘I try not to complain’, yet that’s all you’ve done…”
True, but there is a reason. Sometimes, it’s necessary for me to look at the negative aspects, so that when I look at the positive aspects, I can see how much of a twoffy knob I’m being.
There is a saying that has become popular in the last couple of years: “first world problems”. This couldn’t be truer, because, yes I’m cold, I’m pretty tired and all I have to tide me over until tomorrow at midday is a half-bottle of Coca Cola and a packet of honey roasted peanuts, but I’m also in good health. And, here’s the kicker: I’m writing this post on my iPad using the free on-board WiFi, whilst listening to Jools Holland and Ruby Turner on my iPod and getting the occasional WhatsApp message on my iPhone. In Canada. Where I’m spending two months. Without working.
When I think about it like that, I couldn’t give a flying fuck if the sun doesn’t come out for the next six months and my foot turns blue.
Perspective is important sometimes.
I can now feel my toes.