Generally, I love being on my own. I don’t mind eating alone in restaurants and also really loved getting to travel for work and adventuring on my own through the cities work would take me to. That being said, there have been several awe inspiring moments through my solo travel these last few months, that made my heart hurt a little missing a few loved ones. The most recent time was during my first week in Malaysian Borneo when I was taken aback by the beauty of the lush mountains, beautiful isolated beach, and even more so when the roaring thunderstorms and stunning lightning shows would begin in the evening. To top it all off, my first weekend there the volunteer coordinators left and I was the only one at the resort I was volunteering at. It made me crave having someone to share it with.
In hindsight it made me angry to feel like I was not enough at the time. Why can’t I just see beautiful things and let it sink in?
To make things more challenging, I had an adorably in love couple come and volunteer the second week. The first time I saw them canoodling in the ocean being adorably playful, swinging and twirling after a long day of painting I almost threw up. I thought this was some sick joke the universe was playing on me. But then all of the acceptance teachings from yoga teacher training began to trickle into my mind. It does me no good to be judgmental and upset that they had something I didn’t, so I tried my best to stop being a jerk and enjoy my space.
Also, I remember my guru-like yoga teacher from Rishikesh pausing during Hatha class one day to talk about our discomforts. After having held a very challenging asana, he said we needed to breathe and use our breath to create space where we felt the discomfort. Our breath is the tool we use to communicate to our body that everything will be okay. He then jovially said that humans are always using the phrase, ‘I need some space,’ and said the reason we always hear that is that we are always on social media or talking too much to fill up space. He suggested that instead we should look inward and enjoy silence so that we have a better sense of who we are and become less reactive. It’s moments like this which make me fall more in love with the practice of yoga. Having the teacher point out little helpful tricks that help me so much in my day to day life – union.
I had three weeks in this gorgeous setting and I was determined to embrace being on my own, regardless of the so in love new volunteers and picture perfect setting. I decided my last week to cut ties to social media and do my best to take it all in and just be one with my surroundings.
As time went on, there was no lack of those awe inspiring moments. I found a completely isolated beach a 30 minute walk away from the resort with the exception of a small waterfront restaurant where I enjoyed fried rice (vegetarians don’t have much fun in these parts) and then I got to stroll down the beach without one other human. I felt like I was truly enjoying my surroundings without thinking about how nice it would be to have someone there with me. Instead, I tried looking for shells or rocks to take back home to my nephews, but ended up being worried I was taking away little crabs. It was funny seeing all the tiny little crab legs moving around the shells, as if hundreds of little shells were dancing with one another. I was completely entertained and fully present.
My last week in Lundu, Sarawak had its ups and downs with my enjoyment of space. I completed two audio books, plowed through a bit of the very hefty but lovely book ‘Eastern Body Western Mind,’ enjoyed several sunrises, walks on the beach, thunderstorms, and danced like a maniac when no one was watching. I would take a step back when I felt the pangs of discomfort and breathed. The last week made me feel so much more in tune with myself and like I can do just about anything I put my mind to, so long as I remember to breathe. I’m sad that it took me almost 4 months of solo travel to finally enjoy my alone time, but better late than never. The power of our minds is a beautiful thing. I was determined and I almost completely felt comfortable being on my own. It was empowering and refreshing. Even with all of the stunningly scenic sites, I was finally beginning to embrace those moments and just allow it to sink in and fill up my soul.