Published: September 9th 2009September 9th 2009
If there is one thing that you learn when you are traveling by yourself is how to entertain yourself. Not only do you have to be prepared to rely on yourself to deal with all the difficulties that arise, to make all the necessary decisions, but you have to be in your own company all the time. I know everyone has that problem, but it takes on new dimensions when you are traveling alone. Just like how traveling with a friend can be trying if you don’t get along all the time. An eight hour ferry ride or a two hour bus ride can be torturous if you don’t know how to entertain yourself. Although it is rare, when you are traveling you could conceivably go a week without having a conversation in your native language. It’s not the same as living your regular routine where you can escape into work or watch tv or go to a movie.
So, the people that cope best with long term travel are the loners and the introverted that don’t need company all the time. Ironically, us anti-social introverts are less likely to immerse ourselves in the crazy business that is backpacking. I suppose
any trip is what you make of it. I have met travelers who make it their task to see the inside of every bar in a city and it is true that traveling is a great way to meet interesting people. Everyone that I have met has an interesting story to tell. No one comes to Europe to stay in hostels and eat cheese and crackers without a grasp on the sacrifice that travel can be. And due to that fact, everyone has something in common automatically. As my time in Europe draws to a close it makes me think of all the people that I have met. I have avoided talking about the people I have met since I would find it a little weird if someone wrote about me in a blog. But the people are an important part of the travel experience.
On the train to Milan I met this lady from California who had been all over the world, even to Antarctica; she gave me advice on traveling in India. In Rome I met a girl from America who was working as a nanny for the summer in Italy; we saw the Sistine Chapel together. In
Bruges I met this couple from Australia that I ran into again at the Hostels in Rotterdam and Munich. In Paris I met this girl from Australia who was the first girl I met who was traveling alone; she convinced me that I wouldn’t have any trouble on my way through Europe. In London I met a guy from Ireland who invited me to visit Dublin with him. In Vienna I met a French girl who told me I was lucky to speak English because it was the language of travel. In Rome, I stayed up late watching scary movies with a girl from Zimbabwe. In Crete I debated the relative merits of the American education system compared to the Chinese system with a lady from China who was studying Paris. In Milan I met a girl from Japan who was studying English and we compared the difficulties of learning each other’s language. In Amsterdam I argued about religion with a girl from the Midwest who was working at the hostel there for the summer.
My plans for the rest of September are fly to Istanbul September 11, fly to Cairo September 18, fly to Mumbai September 30th. Some thing
to look forward to!
There are more photos below