luni, 15 iulie 2013

A solo traveler is never alone

I get this a lot "Oh my God, you traveled or you travel alone"... People! There is nothing wrong in going here and there alone. In fact I think there is something wrong in always depending on someone else besides you.

Here are a few reasons why I am sometimes a solo traveler:

1. I travel alone because I love to travel no matter what or how.
2. I sometimes travel alone because not all my friends have the necessary financial resources to follow me wherever my mind dreams to go.
3. I traveled alone because I felt lonely and wanted to get out of that prison. Believe it or not, it worked like crazy. I felt more happy alone than with someone by my side.
4. I last time traveled alone because my dear friend lost her flight, got stuck half the way to the destination where I was expecting her, and had to go back because of "completely booked flight" reasons.
5. I sometimes traveled alone because I was meeting someone at the destination.
6. I travel alone because I don't have a better half yet.
7. I travel alone because I am free to do whatever I want, whenever I want, to meet whoever I want anytime I want. Not that with someone I would feel stuck, but it's a great satisfying feeling of freedom to know you are in complete control over yourself, your activities and your time.
8. I travel alone because I do not mind it at all. I find travel as a medicine to daily activities.
9. I travel alone because I am in love with the whole world and everything it has to show me.
10. I sometimes travel alone because these experiences are life lessons.

Do not believe otherwise, I love people, I love my friends and would take them everywhere with me, but that's not always possible. And the fact that they're not around when I want to pack my bags and go...that won't stop me.

In fact a solo traveler is never alone as I see it. And not only me, I am sure there are a lot of people out there feeling the same. So to tell you the story of my last solo travel, it happened in Peru 2 month ago. I left Timisoara (Romania), my home town, completely alone, took a train to Budapest, then a flight to Amsterdam and then a connecting flight to Lima, and voila. I was alone in Peru. The desire to visit this country was to big to be stopped by such an insignificant fact like ....having no one to travel with :) In fact I had a planned companion, till reason no 4 from the above list happened.
Anyways, the idea is that I had so many people around, so many lovely people from who I could learn and have lots of fun with. And here a few of them cause they were so many that I lost count and names :P

Starting in Lima, in my first 2 days, Lien and Kathleen, 2 great Belgian ladies, kept me company in the hostel and also in the next day for a boat trip in Paracas to visit the sea lions and wild birdies. And because beauty has no age, after they left I got "stuck" with 3 friendly Latin Americans, 1 Peruvian-Javier, who was living in US almost his entire life, and 2 "crazy" Venezuelan and Porto Rican ladies, all of them 50+ but happier than many of the people I know. The next day back in Lima was in the hostel in the company of 2 kind of weird Austrians guys, who were living in the jungle since half year on a diet camp, from whom I found out everything about Ayahuasca and its healing powers. I then decided that I will try this experience one time.
The way to Cusco was long and tiring (22 hours), but the aim to see Machu Picchu made it all worth it. In the hostel the only night there brought me together with an awesome Dutch dude that I met later on in Aguas Calientes after visiting Machu Picchu. On the way to Aguas Calientes, that being a 6 hours minibus ride at 4000 m, I spent a lot of words and stories with a lovely Israeli couple, with Jake, the hyper energetic English dude that I could barely understand sometimes (British accent simply kills me) and many others happy people, all waiting to get up on the ruins and check another thing on their bucket list. On Machu Picchu, Denise, the cute Brazilian, kept me company for the first 1.5 hours, then Joanne and Tara Cloud were my walking companions for around 3 hours, all the way to the Sungate and back. Great talks, beautiful life stories and a lot of nice pictures, cause hey... "Make them look good, they're for Facebook" :)) Back in Cusco I spent a lovely day up on the hills with Nick, the cute Dutch youngster with great and fun stories, ending our day with some tasty beers and very good food. I will not mention the bunch of party people from the hostels where I slept cause then I will not finish the post in this life :))) In the last days, in Puno, the place from where I went sailing on lake Titicaca, on the boat, Max and his very young and open minded mom kept me company along the journey, not to mention again the 55+ couples enjoying the views and the heroic 80 years old American lady that managed to get off the boat and walk 40 minutes on the island hills till our restaurant. Evenings were reserved for dinner with Maggie (the lovely American girl with Romanian ancestors) and her husband, a friendly couple who were traveling for work in Peru. Finally back in Lima, in my last day, hoping to have a chill evening to relax and just enjoy the urban views, in Kennedy park in Miraflores, a police officer passed by smiling. I stopped him to ask if I am allowed to smoke in public and that was it. We started talking and we didn't stop for another hour and half. About Romania, about Peru, about history, politics, about Peruvian traditions and how they changed during time, about him, me, the people around, about cats and many more. I did not feel the need to relax and enjoy the urban views anymore. I had such a great time with him that I forgot I am leaving soon :)

Bottom line, "we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment".

sâmbătă, 6 iulie 2013

Once in a lifetime

I thought about it a lot and tried to describe it, but words don't seem to be enough. I don't think Machu Picchu can be described in words, it just cannot. I can say that it has magic, it gives power, it awakes feelings. The place made me feel truly happy, made me feel complete, like the perfect place in a perfect moment.
Surrounded by untouched nature and early morning clouds, finding my way up to an old spiritual sun gate, the first 2,5 hours of walk were the perfect way to start the day, after less than 5 hours of sleep. The hot sun in the chilly morning was finding its way out of the clouds, and slowly it started embracing us, all of us, the lucky ones walking on the ancient ruins. The way nature received us was perfect, the energy we gave back was priceless. We were linked and we most probably will continue to be linked...forever.
Anyways, the mix of feelings lasted around 5 hours while I was walking around the ruins, and another half hour in the bus, on my way back to Aguas Calientes. After that, it all became an amazing memory that brings back some of the feelings every time I see the pictures and remember how it was up there, in the sky, at 2800 m.
Once in a lifetime...