While waiting for my flight in Xi’an (with sore feet, tired shoulders and last 100RMB) I scribbled some notes about the trip. Such a good time for contemplation because one or two flights away from home after traveling is merely the equilibrium of wanderlust and homesickness.
China trip was my 4th solo trip after Japan, Italy and Oz. Some people, or I can say a lot of people, ask me why I go solo traveling (and how I manage it). You aren’t with tour?! Aren’t you lonely? Aren’t you scared? What would you do on the train? Do you have lunch by yourself? Do you ever get bored? Do you feel safe falling asleep? Who takes your pictures? Why don’t you go with friends? Such thoughtful questions. I know solo traveling doesn’t suit everybody and might sound strange for some people. As for me, it’s the best way to experience new places. Not that I don’t enjoy traveling with friends and family but, personally, solo traveling is a great ‘me time’.
What I mean by ‘me time’ is the time when I don’t need to think what other people think. I’m a kind of person who feels guilty when people (especially my loved ones) have to go to places they don’t want to just because I do. I don’t like making people walking all the time because I try to tick everything in my ‘Places to Visit’ list. I hate to admit that I have pretty random and unusual interests like contemporary art galleries, city libraries, small book stores, local music stores, vintage shops, or other ‘boring’ museums. I don’t want people to spend their time doing what they aren’t interested to. Lucky me that I & A have pretty similar interests when it comes to traveling :p Oh wait, and I also need to admit that I’m the type who don’t mind to go to restaurant by myself and straightly go home after settling the bill :p
Apart from being ‘a bit strange’, personally I discover more when I travel alone. I take more pictures. I pay more attention to what surrounds me. I see more than fashion sense of the pedestrians, colors of advertisements on the subway stations, how the food is wrapped or the beverage pops out of vending machines, where the lottery is sold, how the students group and go home. I listen more than the sound of people rushing to work, baristas shouting over espresso for breakfast, lovebirds seducing each other in their own language or sudden reunion of old people in front of a cafe.
The thing about solo traveling is that you’ll open yourself more to the world in front of you. You’ll embrace the fact that there are infinite stories behind and the same infinite possibilities ahead that you have zero idea about. You’ll learn the unknown beauty of human connection no matter how strange they are to each other. You’ll see that no matter how different you look or do things back home, there are things you and people around you have in common. Trust me, it’s kinda easier when you are not going with your best buddies or family because you’ll simply be more engaged with each other’s company. Not that it’s a bad thing though, actually :)
Last thing I’d like to point out, solo traveling is a way to know yourself and appreciate it more. It’s a way to befriend yourself and understand it. It’s a way to fully believe in it, that you actually can handle everything. It’s a way to accept that you aren’t perfect and you can make mistake while reading map or get on the wrong train heading to opposite direction. It’s a way to prove that the only thing you can depend on is yourself.
In case you’re interested to go solo, here’s a nice resource :)