The Lonely Nomad: Explorations & Solo Travel
'The real reason for getting out there is to see, understand and breathe in difference.'
Melinda Stevens, Conde Naste Traveller.
I've always been somewhat of an impatient traveler. There is always this choking feeling that time is running out. I need to be here, there and elsewhere.
We are having more conversations now about solo travel. Almost every seasoned wanderluster has at one point in time found themselves venturing in to new and exciting lands with only their backpacks for company.
Why do we do it?
The answer varies from one person to the next. This is my take on it.
My first time to travel alone was on my birthday. I felt I needed to do something grand yet personal and so I set off to hide out in the mountains for the weekend by myself. I was at a turning point in my life. I had new found responsibilities that I didn't know how to handle. I was a year older and yet it felt, still far away from the goals that I had set out for myself.
For me, solo travel has always been about introspection. It was obvious to me, that to journey within myself I had to journey by myself. This introspection also doesn't come just from sitting and reflecting, but by immersing yourself in a different culture, a different environment. This introspection is found by breathing in the difference and letting go.
It is incredibly difficult to let go within familiar environments with familiar people. You feel almost caged in and afraid to rediscover yourself in to another version of you.
There is a romantic independence about it. That chance to forget all your inhibitions, to become a stranger and dare I say, to start all over again, even if it is just for a time. It is this, this freedom that we seek when we set out on our own. To get just a glimmer of this chance. We mustn't be afraid to explore what is outside us and what is within us.
Since that first time, I have sat under clear skies full of stars confronted by the beautiful vastness all alone.
I have danced to foreign music on the streets of strange lands with not a soul familiar to mine in sight.
I have stepped back in time and wandered through ruined castles along ancient coastlines.
There are people who I wish I had shared these memories with, precious as they would have been, but if I'd waited for them, I wouldn't have done any of it.
The beauty of solo travel to me will always be the endless ability to reinvent yourself within the boundless freedom of destinies being created all around you leaving yours unaffected and yet, infinitely touched.