Travelling with The Black Dog

In 2011 I took a massive step. I quit my job, ended my relationship, packed all my worldly goods into my sister’s attic and took to the high seas. Alone. Solo. Independent woman. I was going to be see the world, blog about it and become an ultra famous travel blogger with deals from Lonely Planet and National Geographic. I might even get a TV series out of it…..

Unfortunately I was an incredibly bad travel blogger. I’ve tobogganed down the Great Wall of China, I’ve narrowly avoided running over a koala in a camper van, I’ve been kidnapped by an elderly Slovenian man. But to look at my travel blog you’d think I had barely made it out of the UK. What happened to my dream you might ask. Well, it turns out I wasn’t in fact alone as I had thought. For those 12 months I struggled with the ultimate bad travel companion.

He laughed at my idea to start a blog – why would anyone want to read what I had to say? I would probably do it all wrong anyway. There were hundreds of blogs much better than mine – even the ones written by monkeys. People would tweet my blog only to laugh at my foolish attempts at creative writing, to point out that I was clearly “travelling wrong”.

He berated me endlessly for being an idiot if I got off at a wrong bus stop or missed a train. How is it that other people manage to get from country to country without incident. No body else got scammed by their taxi driver. No body else would have been stupid enough to have spent their entire day’s budget on a tuk-tuk.

He stopped me from chatting to my fellow travellers because I was far too uninteresting for them to be bothered with. No-one wants to talk to you, he said. Look at all the travel photos on Facebook, they’re all smiling, having a great time. No-one wants a boring, uninteresting, miserable cow like you tagging along. Forcing your company on them. Best leave the interesting people to it.

He forced me to hide under the covers all day while outside a new city went unexplored. Sometimes laying across me so I didn’t have the energy to push him off. Or he would hide my clothes deep in my backpack, so even if I did make it out of bed I’d struggle to get dressed. And then he would send me on a guilt trip for wasting the precious opportunities life had afforded me (which, by the way, I didn’t deserve anyway).

His criticisms were endless, his tongue was harsh and his effect was devastating.

There are all kinds of guides and blog posts advising travellers how to deal with annoying travel companions, noisy hostel mates, incompatible friends we misguidedly booked with….but I have yet to stumble across any advice for travelling with the ultimate bad travel companion – the black dog! I can’t be the only one he’s travelled with, can I?

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Travelling with The Black Dog

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