Solo

Location: The World
Soundtrack: Whatever keeps you rockin’.

I’ve never been a solo traveller.

I’ve always traveled with at least one other person.

I was a bit apprehensive about traveling on my own, simply because I’d never done it before. But what point travel, if not to have entirely foreign experiences?

Beach, yo. Image not mine: courtesy of Angela7Dreams at Flickr

My new Spanish compadre Kim and I had a drink late yesterday afternoon. In the middle of the conversation he stopped and looked at me for moment. Then in his Spanglish he said “You look so relaxed, man. At the Jazz bar last night, here today: you are relaxed, yes?”

I grinned. “Sure am.”

And he’s right. I feel like jelly some days, just relaxing. I’m doing what I want to do, at a pace that I’m comfortable with, with the only pressure being a flight I have to catch from Bangkok on the 8th of January at midnight.

I want to eat? I’ll go eat.

Drink beer and read a book for three hours? Done.

Sit on the internet for two hours and write blog posts? Easy.

It’s freedom and choice that I find relaxing.

If this were a longer trip, I think I’d get lonely and really miss companionship.

But I know it’s a short trip, and I’m an active traveller. I don’t like sitting around passively and waiting for things to happen: I’ll make them happen if I want them to.

My favourite part about traveling solo, though, is embodied in this quote:

What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.
~ William Least Heat-Moon

You meet people and you talk with them at face value. There’s no baggage, no history. Only an accent tells you where the person is from.

The rest is up to you to decide whether you like this person in front of you, right now, as they are: not as who they remember themselves to be, or as who the people around them treat them. In some ways, that’s the most powerful form of freedom you can have: freedom from history.

Still, there’s a lot to be said about old friends. Just maybe not while you’re on the road.

Halfway through my trip, with 6 days left to go, I can safely say that I’m comfortable traveling solo.

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