They tell us to travel alone. Its recommend it a lot. That, and traveling without your cell phone or any device. Now don’t ask me who ‘they’ is. You know… They!!
They mention something about the joy and serenity of sitting alone in a picturesque landscape, sipping local delicacies (read: beer) and not having to tell the world about it by checking in with a selfie.
Like, why?? Selfies are awesome! They’re like the best thing to happen to individual self-photography since the invention of timed shutters and the tripod. Also, my parents would kill me for suggesting that I travel without any communication.
But, yes, I can see where ‘they’ are coming from, having experienced the ‘no-selfie-required’ moments myself. Like most college students in Mumbai, I’ve had my fair share of Goa trips where I’ve spent many evenings watching the sunset and some morning sunrises at the beach. Shack seats in the evenings and in ankle-deep water in the mornings… Deep breaths, deep thoughts and good music. Irrespective of company, you’re connected to a different zone. I recommend those, too.
Flying alone on the other hand, is a completely different story. It’s a brilliant fusion of being completely alone, but, being surrounded by unknown people throughout the journey. An opportunity to be your own self at the cost of being judged by strangers who will be in that same huge, metallic cylindrical bird for the next 6-15 hours. A chance to enjoy your own space within a cramped economy class seat.
While it’s an interesting thing to look forward to, its normal to hope and extremely important to that your neighboring seat is either a quiet somebody who will mind their own business, sleep with their head straight and without snoring… Or, second on my preference list, a pretty girl who would give you company for wine and a bit of chit-chat. Nope, never been fortunate enough to get the latter. The rest of the journey is rather peaceful. Eat your meals. Watch some movies or TV. Look out the window. Sleep at will. Buy a book at the airport. Yes, I read only when I travel. But thankfully (and hopefully), given my target career path, my reading time can only go up along with my flying miles. #WIN!
I also prefer the window seats just as much as I did when I was 8. The difference being that I don’t have to fight my sister for it when I’m alone. I love looking out the window for the first and last 30 mins of the flight. Try to find interesting locations in the city if you’ve never been there before or try to identify familiar places if you have. All the way from the terminal, taxiing, runway and into the skies and the other way round. I become a 10-year-old each and every time.
In my latest solo journey halfway across the planet, I had a transit at a European airport without WiFi. For future reference, the Istanbul international airport, doesn’t have free WiFi ( 😮 ). So, after fighting my inner voice that said “Burger King, dude!! Burger King!!“, I bought some overpriced Turkish salad and made my way to a 6-chair table with just another man sitting with his laptop (What’s he doing without WiFi?? OK, maybe he has his own portable modem or something. Stop over-thinking!!).
After 10 minutes, he asked me to guard his laptop and bag while he went and grabbed something to eat. Being Indian and living in a world where the only things non-flyers remember and remind you about the airline industry are the terrorists, air crashes, hijackings and most recently, MH 370, its questionable to trust strangers. But, I was alone and left to my judgement. And to be fair, his accent seemed friendlier and more trustworthy than that Turkish salad was threatening to be to my digestive system. I agreed. He came back in 5 minutes with a slice of Pizza. Turns out he was Canadian. See Ma, we can trust strangers sometimes. Most travelers are nice people. The world could do better with more people who trust.
I like flying alone. A window seat, a good book and unlimited Chardonnay. Perfection at 38,000 ft above sea level! Which is not to say that I’d like to travel alone all the time; but, it’s a different experience… One that frequent travelers must have regularly and the less frequent ones should have at least once. Don’t forget your devices, but, don’t let them interfere with the experience, either.
Bucket list it.
Happy Travels! 🙂