Thursday, 21 August 2014

Traveling alone

I travel by myself a lot of times.
Primarily because of work: it's not real "travel" as I come back with memories of hotel, taxi and airports but once in a while I manage to sneak some hours of wandering around town.
Most of the times, however, it's because I want to go somewhere and either nobody else I know wants to come with me or because of the timing of my holidays is out of sync with most of my friends.

I've been traveling alone for such a long time I expect other people to be familiar with the concept. Yet, when I say I'm going here or there (or everywhere), some friends and acquaintances still wonder about it: "By yourself alone?"
I've become so good at not rolling my eyes: "Yes, all by myself alone. It'd be hard to travel alone with somebody else, wouldn't it?"
I have become pretty good at not rolling my eyes and snap, but sometimes I feel like asking them some basic questions: what else do you suggest me to do? Stay at home on Bank Holiday watching the time pass by on the desktop?! Or maybe browse the internet, looking for pictures of places I could be visiting if only there was somebody else with me?
Thanks but no thanks. I rather browse the internet to search for tickets, hotels, addresses and then, when the time arrives, I pack lightly and go.

And when I arrive wherever I had planned to, be sure somebody will be surprised by the fact I've travelled alone.
But the funny thing is when you travel alone, it doesn't mean you're always alone. On the contrary, it can be quite tricky to get some time by yourself alone.
So, for example, last Friday was Ferragosto, national holiday in Italy: I used the extra day off for a short visit to Trieste.
On the way going there, I chatted a little bit with the family that was going for a day trip to Gardaland.
Then, over 3 days I struck up random conversations with the people that were staying in my same bed and breakfast, a lady on the bus going to visit Miramare, the waiter at the restaurant, the girl at the ice-cream parlor, a tourist from Milan waiting for a bus to Croatia, a couple of guy going back to Milan.
A volunteer working at the synagogue gave me some advices where to go and have lunch and pointed me in the direction of a nice cafe nearby.

I probably met more people than I would have met if I were traveling with somebody else: traveling alone means that what I loose on one hand, I gain on the other, so everything eventually balances out just fine.
Being lonely and feeling lonely don't always overlap: when it happens, most of the times, it's in my everyday life.

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