Musings of A Lone Traveler

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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! 🙂

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14 thoughts on “Musings of A Lone Traveler

  1. Oh, traveling alone is loads of fun. It’s a function of whether you like to be alone in the first place… but for me, having many people around can interfere with the things I want to see, and taking in the local atmosphere. But traveling with people is a great way to bond with them. So you pick. Bond with the place completely, or with your travel buddies.

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    • You’re bang on about the interference of having too many people around. Maybe 1 or 2 people who are like-minded and have same interests. That, and a balance with alone time.

      Maybe that’s too much of an ask, but, how perfect can a trip be if we have those 2 things! 🙂

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  2. Well written. I love staring out of the windows during the take off and landing too. The take off is exciting ‘coz everything progressively starts looking smaller and the landing ‘coz invariably I’m a bundle of nerves out of excitement by the time I’m landing! But train window seat journeys are the ‘bestest’. 🙂

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    • Oh yes, train windows are another level of beautiful (depending on the route of-course). Its like paradise in motion. 🙂

      And good luck with the flying nerves… I’m sure they’ll get better over time. 🙂

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      • All routes are beautiful when it comes to trains. Even the chaos. But that’s pretty subjective I guess. And no, the flying nerves aren’t the ‘scared kind’ they’re the ‘i can’t wait for this trip to begin already’ kind. But thanks anyway. 🙂

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  3. See Ma, we can trust strangers sometimes. Aww! I hope your mum read that 🙂
    Completely identify with the, like flying alone but not all the time! Nice read

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  4. We’ve forgotten how to sit for a few minutes and watch the world go by…Contemplate…My father worked for an airline and as a kid I would beg him to take me to the airport when he had to go…Growing up in the 70s and 80s, there wasn’t much in the the form of electronic entertainment…The airport was my entertainment – I loved watching strangers go by and imagine what their lives were like…

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  5. Solo travel enthusiast right here!!! The Turkish story was funny. Recently some fellow put me through a similar ordeal at the Calcutta (or was it Abu Dhabi?) airport. And he took ages to come back. At that point I was more worried about missing my flight, but under normal circumstances I would have freaked out over different reasons!
    Also the selfie thing 😛 BIG fan! I dedicated a point to selfies when I wrote about the joys of solo travel some time back (not linking here cause that’ll look too much like spam 😛 ).

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    • Haha… Why don’t you ping me the link on the Facebook page…? Pro-selfie posts are in! 😛 Plus I’d like to know what happened in Abu Dhabi/Kolkata… So send me that link, too. PS. Lazy. 😉

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