In the last few weeks I’ve been told I’m a lot of things, ranging from brave to spontaneous, that I would never be inclined to claim myself. (Those people clearly haven’t seen me face wolf spiders or caught a glimpse of my OCD-exposing planner).
These descriptions usually lead to or stem from questions about how difficult it is to travel alone. So I thought I’d shed some light on the subject.
Today I did a lot of really normal things, just in a different country. I ate cereal and drank coffee, I washed my dishes, I took the metro, I walked around (a lot), I took some pictures on my iPhone, I window shopped and I finished my book. I rarely do any of these things with company.
If anything I would say that travelling solo is easier, because it opens you up to more opportunities. I’m included in more conversations and I accept more invites because enjoyable company is at a premium. (Not counting my own company, which — luckily — I am still enjoying.)
I also have total control over what I do each day, whether that means sleeping in, packing a lunch, rushing a boring exhibit, sitting in silence, splurging on dinner, or changing countries. And, as I’ve quickly learned, I’m pretty killer with a map.
After telling me that I’m brave (ha!), and asking how hard it is (not hard), people typically say that I must miss my family. It’s true — and I’m sure my mom is missing my 5 daily phone calls, too. (That was intended as sarcasm, but come to think of it she did just answer my FaceTime from her office…) In fact, I miss my family about as much as I have from Vancouver for the last 5 years.
Travelling alone gives you a lot of time with your thoughts and a lot of time with your iPod on shuffle — both of which can be incredibly humbling. For me, the worst (and best) part of spending so much time alone, is having no one/wifi with whom/which to share all of my brilliant ideas.
So, to give you a true sense of what it’s like to travel alone, and to give myself a rare chance to share, I will let you in on a small sample of the thoughts that have been filling my head. (Disclaimer: if you’re looking for epiphanies or moments of self-discovery, look elsewhere.)
- Now that I’ve switched to a 24-hour clock, do I wish on 23:11 or 23:23? Or does this mean I can only make wishes in the morning?
- People here actually drink Fanta!!? (you know… Fanta.)
- Whyyyyy didn’t I use that free public washroom half an hour ago?
- It would be really embarrassing if anyone could hear that I’m listening to ____ right now.
- Oh f***, my headphones aren’t plugged in all the way.
- Wow, people here really like Fanta…
- Thank god I packed a third shade of lipstick or my wardrobe would feel pretty tiresome by now. (More on that to come.)
- I hope I finish the Harry Potter series before one more person asks what I’m reading.
- I never want to finish the Harry Potter series! Train rides will be so boring!
As you can see, I’ve really grown as a person since January 22nd.