After my first week on the road, I had written a summary of my state of mind. When I wrote it I was still a little high from the previously experienced nature-high and totally not used to the feeling of power over me, myself, and I. Since then, much has changed. However, it is important to me to share it with you because it captures that moment and my state of mind.
"For the last week, I have been traveling to the east alone. It turns out that this adventure reveals more about myself than about the culture and the country I am visiting. I don't feel overwhelmed. After all, that was the plan. I really wanted to know where my limits lie before I entered Russia. I discovered the stranger in me. It's a fairly wide, fairly breathtaking landscape (metaphorically and literally) and I am regularly high of the feeling of absolute self-determination. I realize that I am experiencing this feeling for the first time.
I feel muscles that I have never felt before. It is not a painful muscle ache brought on by over stressing, rather the noticeable slow growth of the fibers with permanently increasing demand. My attitude is changing, too. I stand upright, walk with wider steps and feel taller. My body becomes a tool that is at my disposal. The exhaustion occurs much later than expected. I am much more present and look forward to my growing leg muscles. My body aesthetics adapt to my new goals.
After only one week on the road, I have already made some serious mistakes. I missed trains, overestimated myself, lost all my documents, and bought dubious tickets on the Internet. The resulting problems were quite serious and went way beyond my head. Problems that I can't solve alone are a complication. Just because something is complicated does not mean that it is impossible. The certainty that I will find a way to cope with whatever is thrown at me, is exhilarating.
A woman traveling alone is not a normality anywhere. It was commented on everywhere I went. I have already been called everything from brave to insane. When I feel threatened (almost never), I walk more decisively, my steps become wider but not faster and I breathe slower. Most of the time, however, I am confronted with complete ignorance or an instinct of protection. Between alien and baby, I feel equally uncomfortable. My vis-a-vis often doesn't know this, and most of the time I say goodbye with a friendly and helpless smile.
Planning approach (key realizations)
The planning of such a trip is not about my own security, but about giving the person I visit enough time to get comfortable with the thought of me being there."