22 June 2011

12 alone out of the city

let's talk about traveling alone.

because i think traveling alone has gotten a bit of a bad rap. there's a whole industry of cruises and travel programs specifically developed for people traveling alone. a baffling concept given that if you are traveling in a group of people who are traveling alone, none of you are, in fact, traveling alone. which, i guess, is the whole point but, really... what's so bad about traveling alone?

traveling alone is kind of awesome.

because here's the thing about traveling alone: if i want to do the newport cliff walk in ill-advised leopard print flats... done. if i want to park really, really far away on the edge of an island and then inexplicably go to the furthest possible point on that island from where i've parked and then walk the 7 miles back to the car rather than figure out the trolley system... done. and if i want to take three showers in a day, eat a whoopie pie for dinner and fall asleep at 7:30... done!

my friends, that kind of freedom is glorious. quite possibly extremely selfish and self-centered and the foundation for future travel headaches if i ever am not traveling alone, yes, but still glorious all the same.

so now that i've rah-rahed for traveling alone, let's acknowledge the obvious downsides and then parse them for silver linings.

one: traveling alone can be a wee bit lonely. but i maintain that it's only lonely if you let it be, so the obvious solution there is this... don't let it be. if you're sitting alone in your hotel room, alone in bed, watching bad tv alone, then you will likely feel alone. but how can one possibly be worried about being alone when one is facing life and death on a cliff walk in ill-advised leopard-print flats? i tell you, one cannot.

two: omg... the romantical couples. SO. MANY. ROMANTICAL. COUPLES. how do i know this? in newport, they ALL OF THEM asked me to take their picture in front of whatever large house/fountain/tree/cliff they were standing in front of. my advice? embrace the romantical couples. you either are, have been or will one day again be one of them so you're building massive romantical couple karma and your photographic portfolio by helping them immortalize their romantical couple moments now.

three: while traveling alone can result in loads of landscape shots (ie. obviously), one ultimately winds up with no vacation pictures that aren't of the camera-in-the-outstretched-arm variety. which is never flattering and is yet another reason to befriend the romantical couples, because 1 out 3 times, a member of the romantical couple will offer to take your photograph. and you need vacation pictures, because vacation pictures are important.

case in point: had a member of a romantical couple not offered to take a picture of me in front of the chinese tea house in newport this past weekend, i might never have known that in the outfit i wore to interview the stepbrother, my bra was plainly visible.


Linda said...

I heart all your tags at the bottom of this.

Katie C said...

This makes me nervous for Memphis. Should Katie and I plan to leave you alone places a lot?? :)

oline said...

i thought it might. and no, not at all. memphis and LA are just like going to burbs.

and lindear, you have WARMED MY HEART. i assumed no one ever looked at the tags and sometimes that's where i do my best work.

mak said...

four: when people watching - which you invariably MUST do when traveling - you lack someone to jointly witness the absurdity that you are bound to witness by sheer fact that there is no one else there to corroborate your tale of the [whatever crazy thing/person you saw that no one will believe thus trapping you in a deadly spiral of insistence-of-veracity versus suspension-of-disbelief].

But yes, the romantical couples can suck, especially if they are in horrendously adorable rowboats.

oline said...

the silver lining: have a blog and write about all the crazy things people you saw/heard. people may not believe but they'll read.

oh, rowboats. ouch my heart.

mak said...

Fair point on the blog.

And yes, rowboats. ROWBOATS.

oline said...

hmm... my platonic soulmate k.clen and i may have to find some rowboats now.

oline said...

ps. i WISH i could travel with the luggage of the woman in this picture. seriously. she has gone to africa with little more than a purse and a picnic basket. HOW?

mak said...

Clearly she mailed her trunk of fashionable things ahead of time. There is no other explanation (unless she is not, in fact, traveling alone, and there is a butler-esque figure in the unseen background laiden down with aforementioned fashionable things).

oline said...

yes, i imagine her fashionable things must be elsewhere. and her picnic is probably really good.

Osutein said...

I went to Athens alone. The one in Greece, not Georgia. There's this hill with a little church on top that has great views of the sunset, so says the guidebook. I walked up said hill (it is a tall, steep hill). I twisted my ankle halfway up, and so limped the rest of the way. At one point I lost the trail and ended up clambering uphill in the woods, pursued at a distance by several stray dogs. Eventually I found the little tram that takes you to the top. At the top the views of the ancient city were breathtaking. The sunset was gorgeous. And I was the only one there who was not half of a romantical couple, save for a mangy dog. It was one of the loneliest moments of my whole life. I left, literally limping away, before the sun had fully set. Then I went back to my hostel, met some Aussies, and got really drunk. All's well that ends well.

oline said...

well. that was emotionally devastating.