The title is not a metaphor. I am literally writing this at the bullring shopping centre in Birmingham. There is very little need for me to actually shop as I am currently living out of my suitcase. It is hard enough to move from place to place with my luggage, but the financial and physical cost of further accumulation of more material goods far exceeds the benefit.
I am shamelessly at Pret with a coffee, which enables me to sit on my ass for as long as possible while using the centre wi-fi. And with nothing to do while I upload a YouTube video for my mum to watch, I am here, updating my blog after months of inactivity. Not that I think many people will read this, I haven't exactly informed many people the existence of this blog. But nevertheless, it is quite refreshing to have some sort of digital outlet of my feelings rather than writing it down on paper, as I've been doing a lot these past 3 weeks.
Solo-travelling is really fucking hard sometimes. Of course there's the romanticised view of spontaneity, hopping from one city to the other and having experiences you might not have in your home town. The stuff in between all that is tough. Imagine lugging your suitcases and bags over uneven footpaths, getting the wheels stuck on every crack while trying to navigate a new city with Google Maps barley working on your phone, pointing you in the wrong direction. Or being woken up your room mates in the early morning, either coming home from a night of partying or getting ready for the day, both of which can be obnoxiously loud. And being constantly cautious of your valuables. Some of my room mates have been lovely, but there's no way in hell I would keep my luggage and bags unlocked even for a minute.
Being alone is a blessing and a curse. There are obvious safety issues with this. Some of my hostels have been in very safe locations, others, not so much. So there's a reluctance to go out too late at night, because really, being alone at night in a city you're not familiar with is no fun. Loneliness itself is also another issue, it can be rather quiet and despite social media, sometimes you just need a friend to be physically beside you. I admire people who can sustain long distance relationships, because even being away from friends and family is hard for me, let alone a significant other.
Solo travelling has its benefits, nevertheless. As you're by yourself, you have the obvious freedom of doing what you want, when you want. One current example, is me spending my morning in Birmingham typing this out and doing nothing at all. You don't have the pressure of making the most of your day as possible. You can relax and do things at your own pace, not having to worry about other people with you. Feel like a full-on day visiting as many attractions as possible? Or a chilled out day doing absolutely nothing at all. That is completely up to you.
So here I am, living in a hostel in England, at a cafe, updating my blog and my YouTube channel with a MacBook in a cafe, drinking coffee. There's Alt-J blasting in the distance, I'm wearing a denim jacket. God when did I become such a cliche? I was also living above a bar at one point.
The video's only 59% uploaded. Fucking hell, it's been almost an hour. I think I'm stuck here for eternity.