Alone?

When I am not traveling wit JF, I will usually continue traveling alone. I had lived alone in Bangkok for 3 months and now I am back here alone too. Traveling alone is always a concern to some. I’ve talked to so many people who have dreams to travel but most of them prefer to travel with their partners. Safety-wise, I’ve been asked about how I survived being alone in Bangkok alone while Bangkok is dubbed as a dangerous city to be at on your own. It is true, it takes time to gather courage to travel alone.

Traveling solo has its pros and cons. After some time, it always more pros than cons to me. There are so many people you can meet while traveling alone, and yes you can also enjoy the fun of having temporary traveling partner while you are alone. You can always travel at your own pace, do whatever you want to do, eat wherever you want to eat and choose to stay wherever you want to stay. You don’t have to wait for your partner to get ready, you don’t have to wait for your partner to finish packing, and you never need to argue of which way to take when both of you are lost in the city. When you are on your own, you are so much more independent and in control.

Among reasons why many refused to travel alone is because they cannot take it having to eat alone. Yes, it is a sad imagination but it is not bad as it you think it would be. Single traveler is easier to be approached by other single traveler and the next thing you know is the two of you sitting at the same table, laughing for hours, beer after beer. But then, if you must eat alone, bring a book. Read, and maybe this is a good time to learn foreign language. Keep yourself busy. Own a journal and write.

Of course, traveling with your partner will benefits in terms of sharing the cost of hotel/hostel room, taxi ride, everything will become cheaper when you split the costs. This is definitely the downside of traveling alone.

It is so much easier to experience stranger’s kindness when you are alone. You are definitely more approachable. There is nothing scary about this too. See? You eventually are not really alone. How not to become lonely? Stop feeling alone. Think that you’ll always stumble upon other travelers, because you’ll always be. Choose to travel during peak season so you won’t feel as empty. Some of my friends use Couchsurfing and they know with that they’ll always have some company. Be bold and confident and ask if someone wants to go out and have dinner with you. Chances are they will always say yes. Meeting new people is always fun and this often happens when you are alone. I cannot help you if you are very shy but don’t complain!

I have made so many temporary traveling partners while I was alone in Bangkok for 3 months. It was all great and I’ve made wonderful memories with them. Even though it was just temporary fun, fun is always going to be FUN. Single travelers that I met while I travel alone were all very independent, sounded and acted very educated and they are the most fun partners that you could ever enjoy being with.

So go ahead, don’t be afraid. Alone? It won’t suck that much.

Advertisements

Traveling and its downsides

Quoting my favorite traveler’s blog, Nomadic Matt : “When I meet people and tell them about what I do or how long I have been traveling, their response is usually something like, “Wow! That is so awesome! You’re so lucky! I wish I could do something like that!…Finally, you get tired. Really tired. Of traveling. Of everything. After a while, everything becomes just another “one of.” That 100th church, 100th waterfall, 40th hostel, 800th bus ride, 600th bar… it’s not the same after a while. It loses its charm and luster. Travel becomes unexciting. Ask any traveler – at some point, they hit that point where they are sick of traveling. They just need a few days or weeks to recharge their batteries.”

This is from my personal experience:

Traveling is great, but I learned from my trip with JF that if you don’t want to get tired of traveling, do it slowly. Don’t go out and see 100 temples in one day, then go to another 100 cathedrals the next day. I still have to plan what I am going to do on the trips but not flooding a day with so many things to do. Some travelers tend to have this “race” on their schedule, thinking that they have to compete in “Who Went to 30 countries in One Month First”.

You want to be able to do things you want to do, to see things you want to see. If you do it slowly, you will be able to see everything. Trust me, traveling needs so much patience, flexibility and independence although I agree that you don’t have to be rich to travel well. Long term traveling also needs plans, if not, a draft of what you are going to do. Unless you are in a tour group, which usually, you just have to pay, sit down and relax. I am not sure if I can count that as being a traveler. I wrote once on my Facebook status — “Tourists see things they want to see, travelers see everything.” For 3 years of constant traveling, I am living with this.

I struggled on my first trip outside South East Asia which was to Europe, spending summer of 2013 in Turkey, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Germany and Holland. I am a bit lucky I got supports from my boyfriend, but still, I struggled, BIG time. We fought on the way, we fought about where to eat, simply because there are too many choices but very different individual taste. We fought about should we walk or take the train, and is it worth it to purchase weekly train passes for that you have to also decide if you should stay that long in one city. I never knew that traveling could be so hard. You have to separate expenses, you have to sacrifice something you are dying to do (in my case, sacrificing Gondola ride in Venice because it was TOO expensive) and have a backup plan, in case you have utter heartbreak when you get to your dream place, only to know that you cannot afford this and that (I found a very nice cave in Postojna, Slovenia, got there after long train ride, only to know that the place is a big tourist trap). This might not be applicable to travelers or tourists with thick pockets, they might not need advice anyways.

ImageVenice: The gondola ride I dreamed about all my life, that I have to sacrifice, MYR 320 for 1/2 hour is not worth it.

Sometimes, in some cases or base on my experience (my winter trip, skiiing in Azuga, in the middle of nowhere in the Transylvanian Carpathians of Romania) the most depressing thing is there is not much information online about places you plan to go, and for this you just have to “gamble”, be there and see how it is going to be, while on the way you will think about yourself as being irresponsible and lack of a planner. But I compensated for everything that I sacrificed in my past trips with JF (example above) by planning and executing the most amazing ski trip in Romania, despite very little information can be gathered from online forums about this particular place.

Image

Azuga: Nice, but really in the middle of nowhere with very little information, even about how much the snow is falling.

Being constantly on the run could be sweetest escape, especially if you had been dreaming of doing so for long time. But you have to be mentally prepared, that should be on top of your bucket list.

I was lost and hopeless.

I suffered a silver jubilee crisis in mid 2013; I was jobless and hopeless. I sat and talk with my parents about how desperate I am to fly really far and travel. In the end, I did. There was a strike in Istanbul, Turkey and I decided to go there. My first time being so far away from home country yet I was so psyched and not even close to being scared. These are the excerpts from my post on Facebook, describing how wonderful to be in Turkey, the bridge between Asia and Europe.

June 18, 2013
First photo: street of Aksaray near Topkapi, Istanbul. Second photo is Turkiye Bankasi, a Turkish bank building. Time check here is 735am. I had Turkish delight, baklava and cherry juice for breakfast which was delightful. Morning sun in Turkey and everything is on the right side. Reminding myself not to look at wrong side while crossing the road. LRT is excellent and faster than in KL. Turkish people look very handsome and beautiful. Currency: Lira and 50euro is about 150 lira. Mosques are incredibly beautiful in here and cannot wait to hear the call of prayer.
1009247_10151654965320629_342990885_obuildingfood

I am back, bold and beautiful.

For past 2 years, I had troubles disciplining myself to write more about my traveling adventures. I procrastinated; I thought people won’t even bother to read what I wrote. Just like when you scroll on online posts; you will just scroll for pictures, reading just the little caption below and that’s it. So screw that, screw laziness, I have important mission now; to share what I had been through for past 2 years. I have an amazing life, and I am a true vagabonder.

P/S : Vagabond is a person that moves from one place to another without fixed home, a wanderer. Vagabondest is a name for an avid vagabond like me.