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A pair of strong legs on a strong body with a backpack on it, wandering aimlessly but alive to everything around, exploring a new place with every new step – this is what I wished to be when I first watched a Lonely Planet show, watched a single woman travel alone in a foreign country. Justine Shapiro http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_AIKkRLYME&list=PLB1B68CE80C6D1204 and Ian Ritchie’s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSjIAmfVkLw musical score were perfect additions to the thrill of seeing a new country albeit on television.
For a geographically, culturally, socially, anthropologically curious girl – travel is the most perfect prescription or was it the beginning of a madness that gripped my mind. I watched Lonely Planet everyday on Discovery channel – I never questioned my unreasonable action of taking notes while watching the TV show ‘I’d do the exact same thing someday and I will need these inputs,’ I thought without once considering the possibility or impossibility of it. I was a little girl and I dreamt. As I grew older, life left lost no time in making me struggle to hold on to this belief.
I’ve wanted to travel since that day I imagined myself as a single woman traveler. A Solo International Traveler – this is the only identity I crave for myself. Why ‘Solo’ I have been asked many times, there’s never a complete answer to that. Travel like writing, my other love is a solitary act (at least in my case). As with writing, travel to me is about letting emotions sink in, engage in a personal dialogue with self, allow self to be amazed, astonished, bedazzled with the wild wonder of seeing, hearing, tasting, living something new – something alive and breathing like a new place! Solo travel is freedom to be, to walk at one’s own pace, the thrill of finding things out is unparallel to any in the world. But why solo, because dialog with self doesn’t sound half as interesting as dialog with friends.
A solo journey for me is akin to being forgotten, where my ideas, thoughts, emotions, excitement matter to me and me alone. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to share it with? Of course yes! Considering the fact that the most difficult part of my travels was to see people kiss at airport terminals, on streets and coffee shops, or watch friends laugh together, I should find more comfort in traveling with company but that’s not entirely true. Neither is better than the other but if you ask me what I’d prefer, I’d prefer to travel solo – of meeting other travelers along the way, of the joy of being helpless at certain times but still figuring out things, of crying without being noticed, laughing to self, of enjoying the freedom of being whatever one wants to be. If one doesn’t know what traveling solo means, or that solo travel is boring or that it is lonely and sad, one must travel solo. One must know what it is to have a heart full of stories, some secrets, some magic sparks, some tears forever treasured in the depths of their hearts
Here I was having a dream come true. A dream come true. I am me, a solo-woman, international traveler. How I would do this, I didn’t know. How would I ever figure out where to go in Berlin, how to find the bookshop in Copenhagen, how to get to the Eiffel Tower in Paris – I knew nothing but I knew all of it would happen, if that didn’t happen, something else would happen and I would certainly have a story to tell at the end of it. I love collecting these stories. Gosh, my dream’s coming true!
As a kid and as I learnt my first lessons in English, I read a quote everyday from a poster my father hung in the living room. It said ‘Keep on believing your dreams can come true.’ I read that quote for every single day of growing years and now it’s in my head, ever so strongly.
Keep on believing your dreams will come true. I am going solo traveling baby!!!!!