It just so happens that that vulnerable approachable mirage is the source of encouragement for fellow travellers to strike up an evenings entertainment you hadn’t even thought of; That security guard to assist her and her bags onto a bus in Kazakhstan; Allows for the swapping of tongue twisters between Malaysians because they are comfortable to practice their English or, to become invited into the house of an Uzbekistan woman to taste a broth you wish you hadn’t. So believe us, if she is sitting there peacefully, quietly and alone, it is because she wants to! It’s certainly worth mentioning on our world travel blog.
Solitary states are a far cry from desperation let me assure you. For anyone who has hesitated to book a trip because of just that, well I hope I can convince you otherwise. Travelling on your own is a unique experience. For a start, being alone and doing exactly what you want, when you want, can actually be rather exhilarating. NO joke. I remember on my first ever trip on an overland tour (yes even me), we were required to purchase our lunches for the next two days from a Zimbabwe supermarket. Well, the economy at the time left much to be desired thus leaving the food department rather bare. Picky about nuts and dried fruits at that time, I secluded my meals to two ingredients. Icing sugar and digestive biscuits (this would have caused an argument back home). This happily sustained me through three days of roadside lunches. Hey mum, who says that pancakes are a once yearly affair? In Indonesia lather chocolate and pineapple onto your regular breakfast and smile sneakily as no one is here to wag the finger at them about nutrition.
Just to prove it’s not all about food and losing complete control of the waistline, imagine waking up to a groggy head and deciding that instead of that hike you had planned you could laze along the river in a rubber tube instead. No disappointed Joe tying up his shoe laces exclaiming that you should have been ready ten minutes ago. No criteria to follow, no compromises! Time away from compromise and letting yourself be completely selfish is joyous.
Alone you are not restricted to any routine but your own. On a whim, if you decide you want company you can always jump straight back in with other travellers who are usually relieved to have a fresh face in the group. When you feel the tug of a new scene off you bounce again. Pleasant memories and email swapping with new friends, beers, group adventures, so long as you don’t strand yourself on a remote Philippine island with a shark-fin dumpling eating vegetarian. In cases where your company becomes slow, lazy and boring (or the worst of all slow because they ARE lazy and boring) you can forward hop to a lonesome adventure, interact with unguarded locals and find out so much more about yourself and your limits.
Now it’s not always fun and frolics. In fact being sick and alone, as I was with Dengue fever was damn right sh*t. Yet people still know we exist. The hotel receptionist for instance who brought food and water up to the room when they realised they hadn’t seen me for a few days. Or the company who took us diving whom we got along with and will now tolerate our company as we hibernate on their bench next to the toilet. There are extra precautions we can take to make sure we stay safe when we need it most. Travel tips include buying a phone and an in country sim-card, input local embassy numbers for emergency help and do likewise for insurance.
.Other than that it is all about freedom…. and doesn’t that sound bliss!