Whats wrong with me?

Whats wrong with me ?

Don’t worry, I havent lost the plot, anymore than I had when I came up with the idea to cycle aroud the world.

If I could sum up this post in a few sentences I would say something like:


” an honest reflection of my mental state and personality”

 I wanted to share it in the hope that someone else may have, or have had the same experience. 

I have an itch that grows and grows until suddenly it is a voice. An unrelenting voice that finds frustration, with the people that I briefly travel with. Otherwise normal, nice people. Forcing a conflict, and convicing me that im better off on my own.

At NO POINT do I feel that I am better than them, I often feel that I am the least acomolished and capable, and that everyday is a lesson. ( but thats for another post) 

(Que mum frantically grabbing her phone to call me.)

It is a topic that I want to discuss in an serious, but also light hearted way. Heads up, there wont be any pictures. Soz.

Maybe those I have met or already know, that think im a bit weird, will find some answers in here. Perhaps I should make future people I meet read this first?

This trip was always meant to be a solo journey, but I wasnt going to turn away happy travel companions that I met en route, as I cant see that this is healthy or beneficial. Im still not supported by a team, group or car. Everything I need, I carry – you get the picture.

I wanted to set myself a huge challenge, an mamouth adventure. If im honest, in part to get over a relationship and lift my mood, out of what I was worried was becoming depresison.

So, after being inspired by Alastair Humphreys, I settled on cycling aound the world. In doing so, I wanted to raise  money for charity, because I thought that this was an incredible opportunity to help others, aswell as myself.

On my adventure, I have traveled with a single person as well as In a group. No matter the number, I always inevitably feel frustrated and desperate to be on my own again. The bigger the group, the quicker the feeling. I’m concerned that this behaviour is destructive and don’t know how to address it.

Its easier if I give an example:

 In the last few days, I have been traveling through the Pamirs with a group of five cyclists ( I will have a post on this soon too!) Like clock work, I suddenly become very frustrated with them. They are outright ignoring me, being rude and so on, my brain natters away.

I KNOW that I talk alot, and this can frustrate others, but being ignored is a real bug bearer for me. It makes me feel foolish, and I already do a good job of that on my own – without extra help. Before, its been a case of, speaking in a language – with others; that I don’t understand, and so I am excluded. Or even being unsafe on the road.

Im also aware that I can read way to much into a situation, aswell as being overly sensitive at times. (there  goes my chance of wooing a potential girlfriend with my manly exploits of traveling the world by bike.)

So, I slept on it, but the next morning a further incident reaffirms my frustration. So at lunch, I do not eat in a Tea House with the others, instead I cycle on to have noodles and let them know that I’m saving money – also true.

This wasn’t unusual, as the fifth member of the group regularly did this – although I found it difficult to understand why at the beginning.

I found this time alone, INCREDIBLE. I looked at everything there was to see. Cycled at my own pace. Stopped to take photos, didn’t feel like I was holding anyone up, and didn’t have to stop for anyone when I was on a roll.

When the group reached me In the afternoon, I felt like there was tension hanging between us, like a silent fart. It wasn’t immediate but you knew it was there.

As the evening approached, we were all running on fumes. I rolled up to the group and explain that I will camp at the first opportinity and they should not wait for me. As the prior converataion of the day, had been to get as far as possible.

Releasing the brakes, the momentum took me over the crest and down towards the river. Where I stoppeed at the side of the road, and after entering a tired dream like state, decided to camp between the boulders on the bank. With the bike and bags in place, I glance back to see the others had the same idea, only 100 m behind me.

No one moved or motioned the other to move, we were all too tired. Plus I had started to relish time to myself in the evenings. I withdraw from the social activities, and atleast tonight I wont have to explain myself, or feel guilty for doing so.

I wake at the usual time, surprisingly, they are  not ready. After 20 minutes, my urge for the bathroom gives me the go ahead to move on. I figure that cycling down the road for natures call, will allow for them to set off and catch me up.

Alone this morning, I glided slowly through the mountains and gazed at every peak on offer, as the sun slowly woke from its slumber. It was by far the best morning so far. Alone, but for the mountains.

When they caught up there was definate air of displeasure. There was a little conversation, served with a cold shoulder. Or so I felt.

So, I ask the group not to wait for today, should I fall behind for photos. I was craving the solitude once more. Hardly a mumour was made, but for the sound of gears turning, silence eerily fell upon us, and off they rode.

In my head, it goes round and round. Am I reading into this, something that isn’t there? Am I forcing a conflict to escape the confines of a group? Am I being a dick?

These are nice people, but I had felt ignored, foolish, angry and frustrated. If I had read this out of nothing, or been oversensitive, why was my mind doing this?

Then and there, I knew no matter what, that I needed to travel the next stage of the Pamirs on my own. The next few meetings and spectacular day alone, confirmed this.

But I’m left with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. That there is something wrong with my reasoning and judgement. Turning down companionship in such a way is harmful and just plain strange. How do you address that  part of your mind or personality?

What is wrong with me? 
  


13 comments

  1. Diane
    07/08/2017 at 12:49 am

    Charles this made me cry. I feel upset for you. It is natural to feel stressed and you are worrying unduly about cycling with people. You are cycling solo and unsupported around the world. The fact that other cyclists come into and out if your life on this journey should not deflect on the most amazing thing that YOU are doing! You have been cycling for nearly 130 days with people joining you for parts that maybe in another life you wouldn’t choose to be with but you have. Don’t beat yourself up for how you feel. The Pamir Highway is so tough and perhaps the other cyclists are feeling the same as you but haven’t had the courage to speak out. What you have said shows strength not weakness. The highs and lows of your journey are not just physical but also mental and opening up to others is better than keeping it within, that is what makes us ill. Everything you do is in your control. Frustration is normal, think about Dad and how he gets frustrated with other individuals. You are an amazing young man on an amazing journey and everyone is so proud of you. Love you for ever Mum xxx

    Reply
    1. 07/08/2017 at 6:46 pm

      I tried to keep it upbeat. Im not down in the dumps or pitying myself. But it was really helpful for me, to get it out of my head and down on paper or rather a blog post. Its like you said, I wondered if other people have had this situation which for me, keeps repeating itself. In the moment its hard not to be critical of myself, I guess thats me, but I hear what you are saying, or rather read it, and take it on board! X

      Reply
  2. Carol Wright
    07/08/2017 at 6:58 am

    Charles – I read this this morning and felt very sad. Having never met you but then you stayed with us for 8 days, you are a very positive, upbeat, full of life, kind hearted gentleman that I would love my daughter to find someone like you in her life. From our conversations during your stay you know how much time I spend on my own – and no its not healthy but I find it so hard to be around others so I completely understand how you are feeling. Yes, you are a very chatty character and maybe can be too much for others but you don’t have a bad bone in your body and you are being very hard on yourself. You have certainly inspired Phil and I to get on with our lives and we look forward to seeing you in Portugal and helping us with our plans. xxxxxx

    Reply
    1. 07/08/2017 at 6:42 pm

      Carol, its really great to hear from you , especially now. Thank you for the kind words and I understand completely what you are saying about being on your own. Maybe I am being a little hard on myself. Theres a lot of time to think out here. And of course I cannot wait to see you both in Portugal !

      Reply
  3. Joe
    07/08/2017 at 8:44 am

    Solitude is to be sought, loneliness to be avoided.

    If you feel happy with a group or other cyclists or feel the need to be with people, ride with them for a bit, if you want to go on on your own for a bit, politely find a way to.

    You’re cycling around the world, and the only way you can complete such a mammoth journey is at your own pace – whether you’re Mark Beaumont and doing it in 80 days or a novice explorer taking a little longer. Go with the flow, trust your judgement, it’s already got you halfway round the world!

    Can’t wait for the photos, this part sounds incredible.

    Reply
    1. 07/08/2017 at 6:39 pm

      I definitely feel like some time on my own would be beneficial for me at this stage. Plus I really enjoyed the last day or so taking it all in on my own. So definitely think this the way forward. I have a long way to go! The photos are awesome. I have another post coming shortly with a few snaps in.

      Reply
  4. Andrea Collisson
    07/08/2017 at 1:12 pm

    It seems to me that something is not rightbetqeen you and others and thrn you run away because you recognise there is a problem.

    You should probably try to clear the air a bit by asking them what is the problem.

    Its hard for us to say exactly what the oroblem might be. You ask the people concerned.

    Reply
    1. 07/08/2017 at 6:35 pm

      Personally, I think its a deeper issue than these particular people which is what I was trying to get across. I am.a big believer in addressing a situation if there is an issue, but only where you feel it would be constructive to do so. In this instance, based on my previous experience and the overwhelming feeling that it was me, I didn’t feel that it would be helpful. Thank you for your insight.

      Reply
  5. Lisa Baker
    07/08/2017 at 7:24 pm

    Nothing wrong with you sunshine. You are amazing xx you can’t allow other people to knock your self belief. To be honest I don’t know of anyone who has travelled with either strangers or friends who hasn’t had some tricky mood swings (or downright hostility) to contend with. Take care Charlie xx

    Reply
  6. Chris Pryor
    16/08/2017 at 1:46 pm

    Charles. Listen! QUESTION. Have you changed you pants recently? Or have you neglected to brush your Howard Heaths? If the answer to both is NO. Then these are the only reasons I can think of (apart from the your flatulence problem) the others are ignoring you. I ‘ve had it before out on my bike with my mates and the guy in front drops the odd fart. It takes a while to forgive and forget.
    Joking apart. You are a fantastic gent. On the odd occasion I have met you, I have been impressed by your personality, humour and politeness. If I was you, i would take my self off on my own for a few days get to know yourself again then then meet up again. Enjoy your time on your own. I reckon it’s Peanut butter with drawl. I haven’t heard you mention the PB recently.

    Keep going mate. You are doing us all proud.

    P.S. Have a shave and brush your hair !!

    Reply
    1. 02/09/2017 at 4:00 am

      You are definitely right about the smell, I’ve just given up on washing full stop. It’s amazing after a week or more when you find that magical shower!!! I definitely enjoyed my own company for a while to refresh and find it more enjoyable. I’m not brushing my hair or shaving, I’ve almost managed a beard…. almost

      Reply
  7. Dawn Carroll
    22/08/2017 at 8:52 am

    Hello lovely, don’t be down on yourself the fact that you are happy with your own company must be a real bonus doing what you are doing. Why should you spend this precious time in the company of others who are irritating and ignoring you (it’s actually really mean of them to ignore you and I know you would never do that!!). If I think about it I crave and spend too much time on my own then beat myself up about not making an effort with my friends, but we are who we are and that is why others accept and love us. Take your time and savour every special moment on this trip don’t come home with any regrets that you wish you had spent more time in certain places. I am so proud of you and think that you are soooo courageous and brave, keep going my love and as Mick would say “chin up, arse out!” I think of you and worry about you lots- enjoy yourself, much love Dawnie xxx ❤️❤️

    Reply
    1. 02/09/2017 at 4:02 am

      Chin up arse out, is how I spend most of the day on my bike !!! Thanks Fannie, hope you and the family are well. I don’t have any regrets yet, and I don’t plan or collecting any either.

      Reply

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