Travel Confessions: I Walk a Lonely Road

A few weeks back, Amanda from AmandaPOverseas tagged me in a post of hers called “ Travel Confessions.” The rules are simple:

1. Post a photo (or photos) and description(s) of your confession(s) in a new post.

2. Tweet your post with hashtag #TravelConfession and follow/tweet @Traveling9to5

3. Tag 3-5 other travelers you’d love to see confess and tag them on Twitter.

While I didn’t tag everyone on twitter, you are certainly tagged through your blog.

My confessions:

1) I like to stay in hostels

This might be part of me leaning towards the cheap stuff, especially when it means having a bed for a night. Maybe somewhere down the line between being a poor student and earning less than 13/h an hour in my first job in New York it had established itself as the only possible way for me explore other cities and still keep my budget in check. Either way, it has turned out to be a fantastic place to meet people my age, people of a younger age, people of an older age, and people from all walks of life. The first hostel I stayed in as an adult was HI in DC (read more here). And it was the best experience I had so far! Pub crawl with a local I am still friends with today. An animated discussion with a girl from Wisconsin who visited me a year later in New York. Some weekends are just notorious for changing your life.

Take the hostel in London as another example. Either burning hot or ice cold water coming out of the pipes – ouch! However, a ten-bedroom-share with guys and girls made up for a great laugh. Especially the 60-year-old Brit who had emigrated to Thailand and who had to come back to his home country every six months to renew his visa. The stories you run across in hostels – unforgettable!

Awesome Hostel peeps in DC!

2) I like to travel alone

Don’t get me wrong here – traveling with friends and (sometimes) family can be a very interesting experience, as well. But mostly I have found myself hitting the road all by myself. Be it lack of friends who wanted to see the same city or be it personal choice – I have so far never regretted packing that duffel bag and getting on the bus/plane/train to reach out to undiscovered lands. It’s pretty neat, if you come to think about. No whiny partner who does not want to see this monument or go out in that club. Just your own opinion that counts. I love picking out stuff only I like to see. If I am bored at one place, I am free to move on to the next.
I believe some people still have this very innate fear of letting go of the circles they know and just traveling by themselves. I had to learn how to travel alone from a very young age on. My most life-changing experience must have been relocating to Florida all by myself at the tender age of 20. After that, all ties broke loose. I found myself shaking for cold beneath the Stephansdom in Vienna, dancing in the streets of Paris, and then of course moving to New York – only me, myself, and I. One of the best decisions ever!

3) I like to discover new lands

You will rarely find me at one and the same spot more than one time. Unless I have found something truly exceptional about one place, I am all for going out there and setting my pins on the world map of life. Yeah, Canada was cool and I definitely want to go back to the Grand Canyon. Some things are just too huge to grasp in one day. But I’d also like to part my wings and finally get to see more of the West Coast of the US. Seattle, Portland, San Francisco – all awaiting my arrival. And then what about South America, Asia and Africa? Not to mention Australia and New Zealand… The globe is endless, it seems. My biggest dream is indeed to pack my bags for 12 months straight and see what else is out there. Probably I am in the wrong city to save up for this, don’t you think?

Me alone in Montreal

4) It’s either all or nothing

When I travel somewhere, I want to get to know the culture. No lame bus tours or being locked down in a group that has “I am a tourist, please rob me” stamped all over it. Another convenience of traveling by yourself is that you are more open to your surroundings. You have to carefully wage if this road is safe to venture on and if that neighborhood is appealing to you. At the same time, you want to see something your friends have not and you want to boast with things they wouldn’t be able to read up in any tour guide. So I really like to talk to the locals when it comes to exploring another city. I don’t like the stigma that is attached to a tourist. Being a young female can be dangerous but it can also make other people more open towards you. I had the most interesting conversations with locals just because I sat by myself. Rest assured, other people are about as curious about your whereabouts as you are about theirs.

5) Sometimes I only travel to get a good picture

Part of being a photographer is to wage the battles and to get some challenging shots. My trip to Montreal was based on 50 percent curiosity and 50 percent of “I need something new in my portfolio”. Hey, it worked! It got me out there. Taking pictures is also a really good excuse to be alone. You can literally take day-long photo excursions without people looking at you oddly because you always have your camera strapped around your neck.

Me with a ton of other people I don’t know at the Grand Canyon

Traveling – the more you do it, the more you realize what the most relevant things in life are. You also see what kind of lives other people have and what kind of attitude they display towards it. Traveling is mostly only one thing to me, and that is inspiring.

Now, Liz from Belovelive, the Sweet Kitten, Shannon from Rediscovering Healthy, Dave from TravelBugster, and last but not least Ron’s View. Your turn!

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6 thoughts on “Travel Confessions: I Walk a Lonely Road

  1. Thanks for participating 🙂 I agree with you that some people just have a fear of traveling by themselves. I also moved to Florida alone (although I was 23 rather than 20), and a lot of people didn’t see how I could do that because they felt they could never move that far from family. I guess it’s a good thing that the distance was okay with me because now I’m even further away lol. While I lived there, most of what I did, I did alone, and that was fine with me. A lot of times, people struck up conversations just because I was alone. While it normally didn’t result in any lasting friendships, it was at least fun for the night. I also don’t tend to get on tours. I like to be able to wander things by myself, and it’s rare that I can’t just look up the significance of something if I don’t know it and don’t have a guide (the guide had to get their info from somewhere right?)

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