No…. it’s not because I could not get anyone to travel with me! No…. I am not anti-social.. neither am I a loner. So.. why do I like travelling alone?
Travelling alone means that you are the only one to make all the decisions pertaining to your own holiday. No compromises, no obligations, no considerations of others are needed. It’s purely about what you what to do with this precious time that you are given to travel on your OWN TERM.
There is a strong sense of liberation when you are entirely alone in a new country. You just allow things to happen without any expectation and let them unfold naturally. What do I mean by that? I just flew into Oslo from Istanbul and was waiting for the train to go down to the city. I started chatting with a Norwegian lady, Ann who came back from Portugal and waiting for the same train. When you travel alone, you have a choice of just standing in a corner with your head buried in a book if you do not wish to socialise. That day I chose to speak to Ann as I needed some information about the train. After speaking for a few minutes, she asked where I would be staying in Oslo. Well… I tried booking online but could not find any accommodation that suit my budget. I was going down to the Tourist Information Centre to check whether I can hopefully find it there. Then Ann offered me her place for the night and by then I was so comfortable with her that I accepted her invitation without hesitation. That was the best decision ever cos Ann stays in a beautiful house by the side of a fjord. We had a great time getting to know each other and exchanging our travel stories over a delicious meal. We practically harvested our salad ingredients from her garden. Ann invited me to stay on another night but sadly I had to refuse because I had already booked my train ticket to Bergen. I definitely have found a friend for life and Ann is always welcome to Malaysia.
I had, on many occasions changed my schedule as I travelled based on a very skeletal itinerary. If I like a certain place, I would dwell there longer. Backpacking alone does not mean that one has to be all by oneself. When I was in Syria, I travelled with a lady from Germany and a guy from Brazil for two days. We were fellow passengers on a Syrian bus from Homs to Palmyra. Before we reached the city of Palmyra, all foreigners were asked to get down the bus. As the bus left us on the side on the road, a guy came running to us and asked whether we need accommodation. Aah…. it was then we realised it was a scheme conjured up by the bus company and the hotel owners. As the location was pretty near to the ruins of Palmyra, we decided to go along with our fate. Thank God the hotel was clean and cheap and could accommodate three of us in one room. For the next few days, we explored the ruins as a threesome and travelled together to Damascus.
I set out on my travels alone but along the way, new connections are made and voila, I have travel mate/s. I am thankful that I have enjoyed the company of every ad-hoc travelling companion and had not encountered any nasty situations. At times, after travelling alone for some days, it’s good to have someone by my side to share travel stories and laugh together.