People often seem surprised that I don’t mind traveling on my own. And of course, I’m the first to agree that having a good travel companion to laugh with and who likes to explore the same things you do is probably the most fun way to travel.
But when I’m in the situation of having to travel on my own, I notice quirky cultural things or spontaneously change my plans in a way I probably wouldn’t if I were focused on and making plans with a travel companion. I leave myself open to meet new people and try new things.
My first day in Athens, a simple request for a photo turned into an impromptu friendship with Maria and Angie, Greek-American-Canadian cousins. We wandered the Acropolis and Mars Hill, were told to shush for being too loud in the Acropolis museum, shopped for shoes and worry beads, almost got stuck in an elevator (both elevator and light stopped working simultaneously), ate octopus and drank wine together. Angie (who comes to Greece every year) filled me in on some of the current issues and politics.
We got invited into the backroom of the purse store where the “good” knockoffs were sold (Angie’s influence) and were cautioned never to reveal being there. We put our feet into tanks of hungry fish that think dead skin is a yummy treat (Maria’s idea).
BFF? Hardly. A little louder and brasher than my usual friends. (See previous comment about getting shushed in the museum.) But it was a completely random and spontaneous afternoon and evening with a couple of very welcoming, fun women. And much more interesting than taking my jetlagged body to bed early, which had been my original plan.I love traveling with good friends. But I also love the adventure that can happen when I’m on my own.
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