Solo-traveling has become my new endurance race.
I’d been on this quasi-solo travel marathon since late September. First, hitting up Stockholm and Gothenburg, Sweden. Some stretches were alone, while others were shared with fellow wanderers. One of my highlighst was definitely the time spent with the illustrious KLTL (Kuel Life Thought Leader) herself, Kay Newton, and her partner. It was a balance of meandering at my own pace and basking in the collective energy of kindred spirits. But as with any team effort, it came with its fair share of compromises. It was like running a relay, passing the baton back and forth, finding a rhythm that suited everyone.
After Sweden, I took a train to Oslo, Norway. Which I made my home for five days before my final travel companion and friend, Laura, swooped in like a whirlwind. Now, Laura and I have a track record when it comes to travel. There’s no captain of this ship, which has led to a series of misadventures that could rival a slapstick comedy. Yet, we revel in these mishaps, turning them into legendary tales that have us in stitches every time. And so, she joined me in Oslo for the grand finale.
A Solo-Traveling Revelation:
“doing it all with very little to no sleep challenges all of you (mind, body, and spirit)”
Laura shed light on my addiction as she rolled in from her 30+ hour sojourn. “Jack, you know this whole solo-travel thing of yours is like running an endurance race, right?” And in that moment, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. She was absolutely right.
Many of these trips require 30 to 40 hours to get to your desired location. Most of the time is spent confined to a seat that barely allows for a proper stretch. And when you’re not struggling with finding a comfortable position in your tiny seat, you’re trapped in a medley of sprints through terminals, a circus act of untangling laptops, shoes, and the infamous quart-sized bag of personal sundries.
Keeping track of snack bags, AirPods, eye masks, phone chargers, and pillows requires an acute mind. Hoisting carry-ons that seem to gain weight with every step, expertly stowing them in the overhead compartments requires physical endurance and strength. Lastly, and maybe most crucial to this analogy, doing it all with very little to no sleep challenges all of you (mind, body, and spirit).
A Moment Of Triumph:
“I can’t help but marvel at the parallel between solo travel and an endurance race.”
Arriving at your destination in one piece, with all your belongings intact, feels like stepping onto that coveted podium. It’s a moment of triumph, a testament to your tenacity and skill in navigating the chaos of modern travel. And if that’s not a metaphor for an endurance race, I don’t know what is.
As I reflect on this journey, I can’t help but marvel at the parallel between solo travel and an endurance race. Both require a blend of physical stamina, mental fortitude, and a healthy dose of humor. They test your limits, push you beyond what you thought possible, and leave you with a sense of accomplishment that’s hard to put into words.
So here I stand, at the end of my travel marathon, a bit weary but overwhelmingly grateful for every step of the way. Like any endurance race, it’s not just about the finish line, but the entire journey that leads you there. And as I look back on the miles covered, the laughter shared, and the challenges overcome, I can say with absolute certainty that I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it. Because in the end, it’s not just about the destination, but the stories, the people, and the experiences that shape the journey. And for that, I’ll forever be a solo-traveling marathoner, lacing up my shoes for the next adventure that awaits.