By Tofi Vargas
Even before I graduated in college I told my best friend my favorite line was, “I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way.” He told me pointedly, “that’s you!” I never thought of myself as that like, but I guess I was-and still is.
I like to travel solo, it’s a fact. Most people do not as they find it discomforting, and even they never will, unless left with no choice. But I always like to choose to travel alone all the time.
I know only a few people who love to go on the road solo and come home a better, confident person, sooner or later. A friend who went to Negros via Cebu for the first time alone was surprised how fun and satisfying the travel alone was.
“I made new friends along the way because I consciously open myself to the possibilities of becoming friendly and charming myself,” she says.
Her friends see her as serious looking but she transformed herself and realized the transition of the self makes the travel easy, light and memorable.
“I’m proud of myself, at the airport I made two friends who gave me pointers where to explore the island and even invited me to visit them.”
She says she herself initiated the conversation to each, first with a smile. “I was apprehensive they won’t smile back but they did and that started our getting-to-know-you.”
Before they departed from each other, they exchanged email ads and cell phone numbers.
At the bus stations, while waiting in line, she again made new friends either alone or in pairs made the waiting enjoyable rather than boring.
“I am fully convince a friendly smile and politeness is a beautiful travel attitude itself, the feeling is encouraging and comforting.”
She now feels she is a much better person than at her home place. “Either I was shy or cold or proud but traveling alone made me reach out to strangers and discovered the beauty of it.”
Sure it does not work all the time. You try to be friendly but the other person so cold and unresponsive. I personally once initiated a friendly talk to a lady and a man in separate trips but both did not respond decently.
Well, I told myself, it’s their loss, not mine. they missed the golden opportunity of knowing the next charming celebrity in the world-me! They will surely regret it.
One of my most memorable solo trips was in Malaysia. I went to Cameroon highlands and met a local businessman with his wife and young daughter at the bus terminal on a weekend vacation.
The gentleman initiated a conversation and learned I travel alone he invited me to join them dropped by at the sprawling tea plantation. I readily agreed and felt honored. That was the start of a beautiful friendship across the seas.
Solo traveling should not be discounted but experience more because it is full of surprises and makes life meaningful and worth sharing to friends and family. It makes one grow with an expanding and universal attitude and outlook. You be glad you did it and empower yourself with challenges and surprises.
As for me, I am on my way. The road ahead after all is vibrant and inviting and yes, endless.
Artwork courtesy of Nevermind the gap