Every trip she had taken in the past, she cut herself, unintentionally, at least once. This time, however, she had really overachieved and had now reached two cuts and she was only halfway through her trip. Debating between backtracking to the place where she had boldly set out from that morning, and pushing through her pain to the next checkpoint, she resigned to backtracking. Due to her lifelong plague of clumsiness, she knew that if she allowed the cut to get any worse or continued on with it leaking slowly down her leg, she would be in a world of hurt later that would be much harder to fix than losing a morning’s progress down the trail. She was undeniably frustrated with herself, though, and cursed her wounded leg from holding her back from the plans she had for the day, and then cursed herself for not being properly prepared but instead over prepared for this trip.
Her solo trek down the trail had been an attempt to escape her travel companions in the first place – and although she needed the space to clear her mind and take a deep breath away from the people she had committed to spending a month with continuously, she also realized now how much she needed the bandages that one of her companions had agreed to shoulder the weight of, while she had all the American medication she could think of having a need for. Separated, they were both individually useful for a specific ailment, but together they could handle almost anything, and for the first time during the trip, she actually missed having people by her side. She had grown accustomed to traveling alone and preferred it to some extent. Although someone to watch her bag for her in the airport while she peed was a nice luxury, being able to easily secure a train ticket for one or impose on a local’s hospitality was an even nicer luxury in her eyes. When traveling alone, she just had herself to worry about, but she also only had herself to rely upon. When she cut herself in the forest, there was only one person she could blame for not having the proper materials to handle the situation. Frustrated with herself, her leg, and having her solo adventure day ruined, she stopped in the middle of the path, and let out a scream that shook the birds from the trees, and disturbed the peaceful silence that she had sought in the thickness of the trees in the first place. She now had her wish, she was entirely alone. She had pushed away the people she trusted as travel companions, pushed away the multitude of people and locals that inhabited this country, and now pushed away all the animals that had been peacefully residing in the trees that enveloped her. She brought anger into the forest and felt like she had tainted its pure existence. She felt instantly guilty and vocally apologized to the trees for coming into their home and disturbing it with her selfish issues. She was instantly exhausted and decided to sit for a moment to collect her emotions and clean up some of the blood that decorated her leg. Busying herself with the task at hand and deep breathing, she almost didn’t notice the man wandering along the trail from the direction she had been headed in before her retreat.