If you want to see the world, travel. If you want to know the world, travel alone.

7 Jan

Sure, anyone can go on a vacation with family or friends and see many new things.   They can see the shops, the cars, the restaurants, eat the food, see the people, see the vegetation, take the tour.  This is actually how I would say most people go about traveling, vacationing and touring.

If you’re looking for more depth and meaning to your travels, if you actually want to “know” the world in which you are traveling, then you must go it alone.  This sounds scary and uncomfortable, but think about it.  If you take your whole family, whole group of friends, or even just a couple of them you are taking your “comfort zone” with you on vacation.  Yes, you are seeing new things, but you are not really becoming part of the new culture in which you are immersed.

When you are alone, walking down the streets of Bangkok, or eating in a restaurant by yourself in Madrid, or riding the bus solo in Costa Rica your senses become heightened; you become more aware of what’s going on around you.  You don’t have that friend, or sister to sit with and busy yourself with conversations that take your mind elsewhere.  You are essentially forced to be aware of your surroundings and notice the small things that you would otherwise not.

This is my favorite part of traveling.  I have done a lot of traveling alone and it always stretches my mind to think about the culture, the people and imagine what life is like for them, put myself in their shoes.  It changes your perspective immensely, just being aware.  I have been fortunate to catch those details when otherwise I would have missed them if I were with someone distracting from the complete experience.  I have also met many wonderful people through traveling alone.  You’re more approachable when you’re by yourself, however, you can also be more vulnerable too which is why your senses need to be on point.

Maybe you don’t do the whole trip by yourself, but if you are with friends or a large family group just take an hour to yourself and get a coffee, go on a walk or visit a museum and just observe.  You’ll be amazed at what you see when your eyes are actually looking.

So, go meet the world, travel alone!

Em

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2 Responses to “If you want to see the world, travel. If you want to know the world, travel alone.”

  1. Michael O'Connor January 7, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    SO true.. I remember when I visited Nepal I was left alone at times because my uncle had to go preach or do some conference. During these times I was alone I would take time to talk with the village people about their life experiences. It’s amazing at what I use to take for granite… “You’ll be amazed at what you see when your eyes are actually looking.” nice blog!

    • emmyla January 8, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

      Michael,
      That’s awesome that you went with your uncle to Nepal, what an experience it must have been. Glad you like the post!

      Emmy

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