April 10, 2012

The Lone Traveller

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world” – This quote from Freya stark always got me interested. I wanted to feel the same feeling. I grew up in an Indian middleclass family surrounded by people. I shared my room with my sister so there was no concept of ‘me’ time. After I got married, I stayed in a joint family for few years, so yet again not much ‘me’ time. After 4 years when I moved out, I got pregnant immediately and had a baby. So I always craved for alone time where I could hear my own inner voice. I read and heard about people travelling alone and found it extremely aspirational and adventurous. When you travel alone, by default you meet more people, learn more about the culture, you are more explorative as there is nothing to distract you. I even told my husband that a month alone travel is in my bucket list that I need to do in this life.  Whenever I saw lone travelers, I found them interesting and was anxious about their whereabouts. I met another such person in my last trip to Bali but this time it was different.

We were living in a small heritage hotel which had individual cottages. We checked in the hotel around 8p.m. As I was entering into my cottage, I noticed a German guy who must be in his early 40s. He was reading a book, sitting in his balcony in the cottage next to mine. The next morning when we left for our day trip, he was still sitting their reading. By then I figured he is travelling alone. We looked at each other and wished good morning. After our day trip, we came back to our cottage in the evening; this man was still sitting on the same chair, in the same balcony, reading the same book. So out of my curiosity and anxiety about lone travelers, I smiled at him and…
Me: Looks like you didn’t step out at all. Is this book that interesting? 
He (laughed and then said): I am leaving for Lombok tomorrow morning for a one month diving trip. So wanted to take this weekend easy and gear myself for diving. After Lombok, I am coming back to Bali which is when I will explore Bali.
It all made sense to me now and got me even more excited about the lone traveler euphoria in my mind. So I said.
Me: Wow, a month long diving. Travelling alone must be so exciting right?
He: Having dinner alone everyday isn’t real fun. I lost my wife 3 months back so this is my first such trip to rediscover myself without her. But I love diving and the sea, so I am looking forward for it. 
This shook all of me and everything around. I was speechless, didn’t know how to react. So after a long pause and a deep breath, I said ‘I am sorry’ but he diverted the subject to talk more about his diving plans. I was listening but didn’t really hear anything. My mind was now restless. I needed some resolutions. Am I taking for granted my non-lonesome travels? Do honestly all the people who travel alone, do it because they love being alone or because they don’t have someone to travel with? Shouldn’t I cherish holidays with my family and friends? Is it truly that exciting to be a lone traveler? I don’t have answers to all this but his one line ‘Having dinner every night alone isn’t really fun’ opened my eyes to an aspect of life that I was ignoring. And at the very next moment, the thought of his diving trip reflecting his undying spirit to rediscover himself also inspired me.

If my thoughts trigger a thought of your own, do leave a comment. I love reading your comments.

21 comments:

sush said...

Beautiful- keep writing- Good Luck
Cheers
Sush

Rajesh said...

We always crave for things we don't have, but the beauty is in appreciating what we have and you have already started doing that.

Keep it up.

Unknown said...

Hi Ekta this is Manjulika a.k.a Manavi, I have fallen in love your writing. Simple yet so captivating!

संदीप ठाकरे said...

Every end is a new beginning... Nice post

Abhishek Ratna said...

gr8 work Ekta!...loved every word :)

Ekta said...

@Sush, @Manavi, @ Abhishek, @Sandeep, happy to know that you liked the post. Gives me the encouragement to keep writing.

Ekta said...

@Rajesh, agree we always crave for what we don't have. Grass is always greener on the other side.

https://www.facebook.com/JaaeeK said...

I too had an urge to take up a "lone" travel. Not because I did not have any one to travel with (the reality was on the contrary)..But I did take it up a couple months back and really REALLY really loved it.Yes I am happily married and with a wonderful 5 year old daughter I cannot go to sleep without making her sleep in my lap. Still..the urge under the cloak of some spiritual impulse was there and I took the leap when my better half supported it..Quite an experience it was and will do it again..PS: I dont have a blog but shared with a select grp of friends on FB..Your blog made me respond..https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=291948480846422

Rohit Singh Jain said...

Lovely..nice post..! Very well expressed!

Rahul Bhatia said...

Ekta, I have traveled a bit and can vouch that nothing can be better than being in a company of family, or friends!You have a nice way of expressing! Am following your blog:)

Monali Churi said...

indeed very thoughtful..

Ekta said...

@Jaeeek, Like mentioned in my post, I have also always wanted to do a trip alone. Through this post just wanted to share another perspective. Intention is not to discourage lone travelling.

Ekta said...

@Rohit, @ Monali, Am glad you liked the post. Thanks for stopping by

Ekta said...

@Rahul, Thanks for following my blog

JK said...

I was actually agreeing with you and was sharing with you that I did take up on my urge and found the experience to be very unique and good.:)

- N - said...

Hi Ekta

I am pleased to inform you that I have nominated you for "The Versatile Blogger" award and that in my opinion you desrve every bit of it.
I personally love reading your blog.

Anyway, I dont know if such things interest you, but in case you do , please follow the link Unfold The Folded and do the needful. Otherwise, I still want you to know that I believe you deserve the award .

Thanks a lot and Congratulations.

Ekta said...

@N - Thanks for reading my blog and finding my writing versatile. Will surely follow the link.

Thanks again.

Radhika Gupta said...

truly thoughtful..

sandeep singh said...

Lovely, well written nd a nice post.

@Sandy..........

Ekta said...

@Radhika, Sandeep, Am glad you liked the post. Thanks for stopping by.

Rajesh said...

Being alone on a long journey has its advantagea and otherwise. When the day ends, just like your friend here said, its boring to be dining alone :) Good write EK. Will read your BLOG from now on.