Back in the hotel, all of a sudden, I started to feel very lonely. It had happened on other occasions. But there, it was a bit different. I was really getting the blues. Not so much that I missed home. I think it was more the company of fellow human beings. Having someone with whom to share a meal and to have a chat with. I had been meeting people since I had left Lima but it had always been very short. Although traveling alone, until now, I had always had some sort of connection with someone. Here there was no one. It was dark. It was cold. I didn’t really feel comfortable in the hotel. Even the neighbourhood wasn’t very attractive. I was feeling blue. Dark blue. In French, it is called “having the cockroach” – a nasty bug indeed. Add to this the fact that I was awaiting an answer to an e-mail which I wasn’t getting. And that I couldn’t even Skype anyone back in Europe who would cheer me up. Before I knew it, I had sunk down completely. I was crying. And it would take me three days to get over it.
In spite of how shitty I was feeling right then, and the few hours of sleep I had as a consequence, I think I knew this was one of the interesting moments of my whole adventure. If everything goes well, what’s the point? What are you learning? About yourself? About how to handle difficult situations? I think the greatest lessons are learned when you manage to overcome the biggest hurdles. I knew it wasn’t only the fact of feeling lonely. I had been faced with a situation I knew all too well. I thought I had learned how to handle it. But the truth is I had only learned that the way I was handling it before wasn’t working. I had changed strategy. But failed again. My situation was linked to the loneliness though. For years I had been trying to escape from it. Most of us do. Don’t bear to be confronted with ourselves. Will try to find in others what is missing within ourselves. I thought I had overcome that. I thought I could bear it. Obviously, it was not the case. Not yet. I was feeling more alone than I ever had in my whole life. To make it complete, I would spend 24 hours on an island, in the middle of a lake, where there were only a handful of tiny little villages. And no wi-fi. It may not sound the best of plans for a depressed person. But, although it wasn’t on purpose – I was just following my planning – it was probably the best thing I could do right then. As long as you have internet at hand, you know that, at some point, you will find one or the other friend with whom you can talk. But when telling your problems to other people, you often just try to discharge your fears. You’re not actually confronting them. It was a tough experience. But a useful one. It helped me gain in maturity. And also to get to the edge of dehydration. I barely stopped crying in 72 hours.