Witnessing Unique Experiences When Travelling Alone
Tonight I witnessed something otherworldly. I was travelling alone on a flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, and as we soared at 30,000, I watched a lightning storm illuminate the clouds below. It was absolutely breathtaking, and had a very ethereal feel to it. It conjured up images of Greek gods or stone giants fighting wars with fiery bolts, the vast clouds became the silhouette of their bodies. I was totally captivated, I didn’t reach for my mobile phone to take a picture, like I normally would; I just enjoyed the show. The whole spectacle got me thinking of how lucky that I am to have witnessed it, and it was one of the many times that I’ve encountered a view when I have been glad that I am travelling alone, and that there isn’t someone with me that I have to grab to get their attention. I didn’t have to share that moment with anybody. It may seem selfish, but how often do you get to witness something that you alone can store away in your memory?
When I was 20 I went on a solo trip to Stavanger, Norway, and to this day I firmly believe that it was exceptionally therapeutic. I didn’t have to follow any stringent timetable, I was totally free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. In addition to this, I had to make all decisions on my own, and look after myself. It reinstated my independence, and reminded me that I was my own person, and was capable of whatever I dreamed of. One of the outings that I made whilst travelling alone on this trip was a trek up to the Preikestolen, a large, perfectly square-cut rock that protrudes out above a fjord – the huge river-cut valleys that run through Scandinavia. It had been raining, and the trek took me through woods and marshlands, up waterfalls, over rock plains scattered with ominous looking black pools, and finally onto this incredible viewpoint, for the clouds to come in when I was 30 seconds from the summit. I didn’t even care that I couldn’t see the view of the fjord, the views on the way up of the city and surrounding landscape had been totally worth it, as well as the experience of the trek itself. I frequently found myself giggling to nobody at the prospect of the climb in front of me, and the lack of a companion gave me the freedom to be as childish as I wanted.
The experience and images of that day are saved in my mind, and in my mind only. I often recall it to myself, when I am feeling glum, or when I am admiring another one of nature’s wonders, such as the lightning storm. Scoping out the world when travelling alone makes you feel special. For all you know nobody else on the planet experienced that moment like you did, and that is something that you can always hold in your mind, as it makes you unique.
This is not to say that I don’t believe in having a travel companion. From my last post, you will know that I have struggled, and would not have made it this far in Thailand if it wasn’t for my doting travel buddy. Experiences can be so magical when shared with someone else, particularly if you are in love, such as watching the sunrise over Sarangkot in Nepal illuminate the snow-capped mountains of the Annapurna range. I just think that a dose of alone time in this world is healthy and essential for personal development, mental wellbeing, confidence, and cultural immersion.