The various things that have been bothering me and random thoughts on solo travelling

No we don’t have an urge for doing what you are doing [which is travelling around]

I want to know what we have in common though.  Maybe we don’t have certain things in common, that’s fine we are different.  But, what do we have in common?

Don’t you want to settle down?

What is the definition of settling down?  Is it having a large house, with a partner and 1 or 2 kids, parents near you, having friends that know you for 5, 10, 15 years and owning a lot of stuff?

That type of life has no appeal for me.

First, I don’t see the appeal of living in large houses.  Sure, it looks interesting on the outside and you can cram a shitload of useless things inside.  But, you have to take care of it.  You have to fill it with stuff and people.  When you’re on your own, it gets pretty obvious that you’re on your own.  And surely we live in a society where we don’t really need large houses with backyards and swimming pools.

Second, yes it would be nice to have a partner and kids (if it comes down to that).  But, you have move with partner and kids and there are plenty of expat families, stories of third culture kids that gives me hope that this is completely feasible.

Third, no there is a high chance that I won’t be near my parents.  And there is a high chance that my parents won’t be near me.  They take international/overseas vacations at least twice a year.  They have their own interests.  They have properties in two countries.  They have their own plans, and I have mine.

Fourth, yes I have heaps of friends that I’ve known for a while.  But, they have their own lives and I have mine.  If/when we cross roads then yes, we might catch up and see each other again or we might not.  Sometimes, my memories of past friendships are better since they are my friends then and probably not today just because we have gone down different roads.  Another thing is that I have more appeal in having a wide variety of friends from all sorts of walks of life from many different parts of the world.  And sometimes, I am happy just being an outside observer.  In fact my favorite phrase in my teens was bête noire.

And fifth, I don’t see the appeal of owning a lot of stuff.  Big houses and being settled makes you want to own stuff.  Makes you want to talk about owning stuff.  Having a garage makes you want to own a car, which then makes you want to upgrade your car, and so on.  Having three rooms makes you want to fill those rooms.  Our world is filled with so much useless crap.  I mean yes, I’m one of the culprits (I buy fast fashion brands) but I am not that bad compared to people living in McMansions.

You need a better work/life balance and stop working weird hours.

To be only in ‘work mode’ for only six hours a day and having to not be in ‘work mode’ the rest of the time feels forced.  But, I need to be a lot more motivated to divide my work and personal time.  I have too many things to do in my personal time.  And I need to be a lot more disciplined in dividing this.

I was working weird hours simply because there was at some point in my life were working from 11pm to 2am was the only way for me to sit still long enough to concentrate.  Any other time there were too many distractions, to the point that, if I had let these issues affect me I definitely would not have lasted this long.  Therefore, I basically had no choice but to force myself to work those hours.

Random thoughts of solo travelling

Being dependent

Being a solo traveler since I was in my 20s, I find it ludicrous coming across people who make excuses not to travel solo.  They have to wait for their husband’s approval for time off (like, from a family relative).  Or they depend on someone else’s wallet to pay for the funds (like, an economically dependent partner).  Or, they just have no interest in learning budgeting or organization skills that they depend on someone else to organize for them (like, a family relative).  I think that a valid excuse would be if they feel unsafe travelling solo anywhere, or simply not comfortable stepping into a foreign city on their own.  I don’t know.  Maybe all this time, I think that solo travel is common but the reality here is that it’s uncommon and I’m the weird one.

Safety and tips

Being a female solo traveller, I probably am more conscious of safety.  Instances like, strangers sitting right next to you on a semi-empty bus.  Getting catcalls when I had my hair out and noticing the number going down to zero once I wore a hijab when I was travelling in a Muslim country.  Once I was standing in Quebec City in winter and someone came right up to me and started inviting me to his house for tea and he was very insistent about it – I ended up walking away and hiding in a chocolate shop to see if he was stalking me.  Having guys come up to you and start greeting you in a number of languages or guessing your ethnicity.  And what’s up with people who you meet and one of the first immediate question is “Are you alone?”.  And so on.  Even groups of females get this treatment, one of the worst culprits being New York City.  So yes, it frustrates me when guys put forward their ‘travel tips’, I say ‘no thanks’ and they still insist that their tips are perfectly valid when my personal safety alarm is ringing yellow to ‘no thanks, you can stop giving me your advice now’.

People are nice

People are a lot more nicer than you think.  The first night/day that I arrive I am usually on the edge.  Then I relax after that.

Exploring is better but you need to be deliberate

Sometimes, I just don’t want advice or know what to expect and to see and do.  I would rather explore.  I check in, get a map to get an idea of going to and from (the best advice I’ve ever had was in Marrakech – you must always know how to go from A to B with A being your accomodation) the hotel then I start walking towards the nearest landmark. Then walk to the next landmark.  Then when I feel like I am walking away from anything interesting, I check my map and recalibrate.  Then I keep on walking.  I don’t really like to have a checklist.  For me, the best way is through exploring and to be surprised by something.  It was like that when I was in Cluj-Napoca which is why it was my favorite city to have travelled in Romania.  I knew about the main sites, but there were plenty of things that I had discoverd for the first time.