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Travelling Alone

A lot of folks were surprised, some even alarmed that I was embarking on a two month trip all by myself. Many felt that I was insane, would get bored and homesick. Some questions I had to answer
1. How would I be without friends and family for so long?
2. What is my motivation for traveling alone?

On the other hand, I had been wanting to do this for almost 3 years now. I was in Borders one time and started reading this book called “Europe on a backpack”. Unlike any Lonely Planet travel guide, this book was a collection of short stories, submitted by backpackers. Most of them happened to be journalism students and hence told their story well. One guy was running away from bulls in an annual event in Pamplona, Spain. Another 20-something girl talked about her courting adventures with some teenage boys in Prague. Yet another girl spoke about her 3 hour supper meals during her stay in France with the former president’s sister. Each story was well narrated and had me wanting more. They all spoke about their love for travel, their curiosity about a foreign land and how they were happy to finally be in a place they had dreamed about. Since then, I have been reading about backpacking and wanting to do something like this.

If you ask most backpackers, they would agree that living in hostels and meeting people is a significant part of their trip. I had read and heard about this – but experiencing it is fun. On my first day in Paris at the “Le Village” Hostel, a few of us were sitting in the common terrace area, sharing our stories. Where we had come from, what we do/did, what our plans are and the occasional question about your culture/country. After chatting for an hour, we decided to see what Paris was like at night. We headed to a bar, grabbed a few drinks, talked a bit and then roamed the streets of Paris till 2 am. When you are backpacking, you are almost never short of company.

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My roommates at the “Young and Happy” hostel

 

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A random night out

We then headed to the Bastille area to grab some fast food and headed home. It was a nice way to begin my trip and it gave me a flavor of what backpacking is like.

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Javier (argentina), Sinead (australia), kamil(poland), kurt (usa), leslie (usa). This was just before we headed to Bastille.

There are so many people who travel alone. And its natural for them to congregate at a hostel and do stuff together. Sometimes we hang out in the day and see the touristy places together. Else we do our stuff individually during the day and meet up at night. Either way, you never feel lonely. At least, not yet.

But then you wonder, why do people travel alone. I think there are several reasons.

  1. Most of us have a growing itch to travel for long periods. You somehow work out a plan to do it, but friends cant do it for various logistical reasons (vacation,commitments, family, children etc)
  2. Traveling is not only seeing the world, but also seeing yourself in a different way. You learn and discover a lot about yourself and there is only so much of that you can do if you are with someone else. By being alone, you get to do the things you like, try new stuff, get out of your comfort zone and understand your own personality better.

I wouldnt go as far as saying its a life-changing experience, but there is definitely some personal growth as a result of backpacking. I can’t express it yet, but maybe I’ll be able to do that towards the end of my trip.

Paris was a great experience and deserves a separate post. I am writing this on the train from Paris to Barcelona. Kinda sad that Paris is behind me now, but everyone I met has just good things to say about Barcelona. I also meetup with Rohit there. Should be an exciting 10 days !

Good night !

One Comment

  1. Vijay Sharma wrote:

    Bharath – this is fantastic 🙂 , Barcelona is the best city in Europe – and superb to see you do this at this age. Have fun, and let’s catch up once you are back

    Monday, February 24, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

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  1. Tiny Little Corner › Warsaw on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    […] tried explaining to him the benefits of traveling alone. He just didn’t get it. He left, […]

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