Updated on June 13, 2010
Frustration: A Reward of Travel
I haven’t authored a post in a few days and a few people have questioned whether my site had been hijacked. I am still here and in charge, but have been lucky enough to have plenty of good material to publish. Having been stationary for a few weeks I am starting to settle in to a routine and I am realizing just what travel is all about.
I have taken up residency at El Diablo Tranquilo in Punta del Diablo, Uruguay for the past few weeks. I have been helping watch over the inn/hostel while the owners are away visiting their families in the U.S. It has been a very rewarding experience and has given me the opportunity to process and reflect upon my trip. Punta del Diablo is indeed muy tranquilo in the winter, but being in a position of responsibility is often more frustrating than just traveling. Sitting in front of a flickering fire last night in a country that doesn’t know central heating I pondered about the role frustration played in making a travel experience worthwhile.
I came to the conclusion that one of the largest rewards of traveling is frustration. When you are waiting outside a closed bus station for a bus that may or may not arrive it is frustrating. When you fail to come up with the words to express a simple thought it is frustrating. When you tell someone the wrong thing only to realize your error after it’s too late it is frustrating. But at the end of the day when your stomach is full and you have a roof over your head travel is exhilarating. You have overcome all of the challenges the day has presented and you’re alive and well.
Travel is about challenging yourself and growing in your ability to rise above adversity. Keeping your cool during trying times is your only option. I think that in a way travel is a lot like going back to childhood, where everything before you is a challenge. As newborns just keeping our eyes open was a challenge. When we were infants gravity was a challenge that we needed to overcome in order to walk. As toddlers our own mouth was an obstacle to being able to express our needs. Now as a traveler in a region that speaks a different language my mouth is once again an obstacle in the way of communicating what I want or need.
As a child the world was new and our energy was poured in to absorbing as much as possible. I find myself in a new world once again, but I can’t take it all in fast enough. I am once again trapped with my thoughts unable to communicate them to others around me. It is extremely frustrating and yet rewarding to find myself in this position once again. I feel a bit like a child again absorbing the world like a sponge.
Through every challenge we grow a little and discover a little more of the world about us. For me this is what travel is all about.