I love traveling solo. Without a companion, I get the opportunity to be completely in touch with my surroundings, in harmony with nature, and in sync with myself. It’s usually a chance for me to relax and recharge when I feel the need to get away from any and all things familiar, including people. Granted, there are few people whom I could talk to when I am on the road by myself. Of course, I could be making loads of new friends on the road but being the introverted one, that wasn’t the way I rolled. It wasn’t that I shunned people or anything, but when I travel solo, I really meant SOLO. What I mean is that if I wanted company on a trip, I would have planned it with a friend, so if I go somewhere alone, I’d like it to stay that way.
When I travel solo, I tend to stop talking altogether. Being by myself, words and expression are often not a necessity. During my week-long-mostly-solo trip to Switzerland, Austria, and Slovakia, I barely talked at all. My daily vocabulary consisted of the words “hello”, “goodbye”, “excuse me”, “thank you”, “sorry”, “please”, “where is…”, and “how much…”. When my friend arrived in Vienna to join me on my last day there, the number of words I spoke during half an hour of conversation exceeded the total number of words I used in the previous 6 days, I kid you not. It was amusing because I found myself struggling slightly with words, especially because we were communicating in Mandarin (and if I said anything during travel, it’d be in English or French.) At one moment I pondered, “Can one forget how to speak? At what point does one begin to forget how to speak?”
We put a lot of emphasis on having company and connections, and being able to express ourselves, and as a result, solitude and silence are often overlooked. I sometimes forget to just step aside, breathe, and immerse myself in mere appreciation, and traveling solo allows me to do that. To the friends who offered to come along when I said I was traveling by myself, at the risk of sounding like a jerk, thank you so much, but no thanks 😉
Tobermory, Canada, August 2011