From a young age, I have been a very independent person. In my childhood, I would often participate in various extracurricular activities, and one of them was being a scout. At the age of seven, I went on my first trip away from my parents for a whole week. We went camping in one of the camping areas in the mountains. And until today, I remember other kids crying for their parents while I had the best time of my life. I socialized with other kids from around the country, made new friends, participated in new activities, and found new likes and dislikes.
Since then, whenever I had a new opportunity for exploring my limits, discovering new things, and making new friends, I would seize it and experience it to the fullest.
At the age of eighteen, I moved from home to another country for study purposes. Seven years later, I still live abroad by myself, and I do not regret it. I often get questions such as “don’t you miss your family,” “don’t you feel lonely,” and quite honestly, I am so tired of these questions. The answer is that yes, I do miss my family, but it’s my choice to live abroad no one is forcing me. Therefore, I do not feel lonely or sad that I am not among my family or friends.
Furthermore, I often like to venture around by myself. In the beginning, I felt reluctant solo travelling, but then I noticed how incredible it feels. Being alone gives you freedom and relief from your ordinary life and self. Although I would often have day trips in different cities, my first trip all by myself in another country was at the age of twenty-two in Dublin, Ireland.
It was my last year in the UK, and before I left permanently, I decided to have a short trip to relax after a very intense year. Therefore, in a spar of a moment, I booked tickets for Dublin. While at the airport before departure, it felt a bit weird standing alone. Typically, even if I would travel alone, it would be a trip to reach home or a friend in another country. But for the first time, I would go to an unknown country without any guidance.
The flight was short, and before I knew it, I was stranded on a random street in Dublin looking for the right bus to get to my hostel. Thankfully my endeavour was uneventful. The hostel was not very far from the city centre, and the staff was very helpful and accommodating, making my trip easier and pleasant.
Also, I happen to share a room with a group of young Canadians who were traveling to Europe for the first time, and Dublin was their first stop. I may not be an expert in Europe traveling. However, with my experience, I gave them some pointers on what to do, where to go, and how in several of the countries they were going to travel. Frankly, that’s what I love about hostels. It’s much easier to meet other fellow travellers, make friends, learn and get some tips on different destinations.
After settling in my room, I packed the essentials for touring the streets for hours and put my earphones for music, and a set out to the unknown. I remember walking around for hours. Even though I would also visit touristic destinations such as castles, cathedrals, and museums, I often venture into more residential streets and enjoy the ordinary. I like relishing regular and traditional architecture, people walking, street art by angsty teenagers, a dog barking, a cat lazing on the wall fence. I believe these are the moments that make you understand the beauty of traveling alone because you can enjoy being part of this unknown neighbourhood, city, or country.
One of my favourite moments in Dublin was sitting at one of the too many parks near a lake listening to my favourite music. The calming waves of the lake, the feisty ducks chasing each other, and the people around that were enjoying the bright sun were making the perfect picture for a relaxing vacation. It was a moment you enjoy to the fullest when alone.
While looking at the people around me, I could see either families or couples and sometimes single figures like myself. One would ask whether I felt lonely but being alone does not equal to lonely. Instead of feeling lonely by comparing myself to others, I merely felt happy to be amongst this tranquillity and natural silence.
Loneliness is a state of mind where people, no matter the circumstances, cannot feel the presence of anyone else even if they are in a buzzing room. Alone means being by yourself, amongst others. You can feel the others’ feelings, gaze, and presence. Therefore, if anyone happens to be alone, don’t be discouraged. Instead, feel happy that you can live the moment you are in and enjoy every ordinary and extraordinary experience to the fullest.