Rising Stress, and I am Trying to Walk Slow in Elubo Ghana
just-curious-Fiona from has written 3 comments
For most of the last 6 years I've been living in a small village in rural Gambia, living the "slow" life. Every few months I'd travel down to the city for a week or so and when I returned home I always found the first few days the hardest...feeling unsettled, feeling like I "had to do something" and always it would just take a few days to get back into the correct pace. Obviously over time it got easier - I learnt to recognise what was making me feel so unsettled and just understanding that it was me learning to slow down again helped me slow down quicker (ha!), but if I think back to the early days, or even to when I first arrived, it just took so so long to learn to be comfortable living at a slow pace and to learn to feel comfortable spending time just sitting, thinking, watching the world around me, whatever.
Another thing this blogpost made me think of was... over the years I came to understand how many assumptions I made about the people around me - how much of what I take as perhaps "just normal" is actually socially/culturally constructed knowledge/beliefs, and how I just (mostly unconsciously) assumed that those around me thought in that way too. People who I lived near and became friends with over the years, people who I was close to, spent time with, shared interests with etc would occasionally say things to me that were so far removed from what I understood as "normal" or "true" that I would be left shocked by what they said. I don't think I'm explaining myself clearly, so let me give you an example....
Jallow, my very close friend of 6 years, a teacher in the village school, a person who I regularly will discuss live, love, politics, etc etc with, who on so many levels and in so many ways thinks about the world in the same way I do. One time I lent him my phone until he got paid and could replace his own (his was broke and he loves phones, mine was working and I can easily live without it for a while). After a week he tells me that he has lost it. I told him "Jallow that's shit cos now all my phone numbers are lost, they were on the phone and not on my sim. I feel angry at you for not taking more care of it" I expected him to say "sorry" and then I'd be still annoyed but no longer at him - accidents happen, things get lost, this can happen to anyone - just at the fact that now I have the hassle of finding out all those numbers again. But instead he said "Fiona what do you want from me, if the phone is to be lost then what can I do?". Of course on one hand I loved that he said this because one of the things I love about Jallow is his difference to me, but on the other hand it made me realise (yet again) that there is and always will fundamental differences between him and me that perhaps constitute an unbridgeable gap. While I don't consider myself very materialistic I do think that if you have something that is useful to you or costs lots of money to replace you should take care of it, and much more so if it belongs to someone else. I don't think I have ever previously assumed that I need not take any extra care cos if it is to stay safe it will and if not, not.
You've also made me want to watch American Beauty again!!!
tropicalguide from has written 132 comments
Traveling with a trusted friend can be stressful, traveling with a woman can be twice as stressful, a stressed out traveler, even an experienced stressed out traveler then can beome more easily upset, so when I get into situations in real life, and traveling constantly is your real life and feel a bit edgy, I go back to the 'basics' I learned in 1976 from others who had spent years wasting their lives and were now integrated into society and leasing productive lives..'HALT' Hungry, Angry. Lonely and Tired. I have been lonely at parties, social gatherings and in crowded situations, I have a temper so need to exercise self control, so eating before going out is a good idea, almost daily I e mail a long time friend over in Guatemala, her Father brought her there from the US when she was 13, she grew up there, she still gets stressed out over many of the 'little things', we write about that almost every day, called support. Another friend of mine locally, a native, who spent his childhood in US and studied a year in Europe, calls and comes by almost every day and we go eat and talk local and world politics, coping, whatever, most of my local friends as well as the majority of the politically incorrect to the max with a sense of humor ex pats I 'grew up' with in Guatemala and El Salvador in 70s, 80s and early 90s are gone or passed away, have little in common with the younger generation of traveler, semi ex pat (those who come from November to March, called snowbirds) and the wanabbe ex pats on line are mesmerized by Real Estate 'cons', most travel sites are tour operators and one of the 'Hospex' sites now has 2.5 Million members and growing, now this organization is a big online city to me, on some forums one has to walk on eggshells, otherwise someone, somewhere sans sense of humor gets offended! Why I soon put up my own bloq, my own way. I tried an experiment on this site and other travel and ex pat forums, giving good sound common sense advice and asking for a 'Thank you' if the advices were helpful, about 1 out of 10 at most will Thank, most are looking for free places to stay or insider information in case of wannabe 'retirees', the 'me' generation I suppose, so I am thanking you now for providing a travel journal that tells me the plain truth written by someone I can at least identify with, yes and friends, even distant on line friends disagree once in a while or we would not be human. So finally, in near future, when you are alone again, in a place you feel comfortable, take a few days 'downtime' as they say, check out your websites, read or whatever, and then back on the trail, writing the journal or whatever. Ciao
Asiabill from has written 260 comments
One of your BEST posts so regardless of Bah's challenges with what to do with herself on a daily basis and your "lone guru" comfort zone being with an attractive companion has improved your mood and inspired the way you write and express your philosophy. like you said NOBODY but ONESELF can make one happy. And I agree that the Bible ( and other books which religions are based ) provides historical evidence and examples of what makes people happy and content as well as what brings them fateful consequences. A study of the "human animal" is worthy for all of us to read. And like you mentioned I am BUSY living life at the moment, too busy to read your recent series of great posts word for word, attending to things which need attended to before I take off. The US Embassy mail room received my passport 7 working days ago and still have NOT emailed me an appointment to pickup my passport with extra visa pages and pay them the U$82. So this is a typical karmic snag in life as I'd planned on flying out TODAY, Feb 1.
FUNNY how people can get so upset when you mention the slightest comment that pushes their emotional, Psychic "button" making them point their anger at you instead of causing them to look INSIDE THEMSELVES to explore why they had such a reaction.