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.