An Ode to Strangers

Traveling alone is a wonderful way to gain insight into yourself. Beautiful scenery, laughable moments, feelings of awe…. all taken in without the need to share it with another being. It isn’t something most people take the time to think about, but humans have come to rely so heavily on having someone else there to confirm the experience happened once time moves on and becomes a memory. It is almost as if we can’t be sure that the sunset is beautiful, or the incident is funny, unless we can bounce the emotion off someone or something else first. Experiences, moments, and sensations come and pass so rapidly when one is put out into the world beyond their comfort zone. And when taking this on alone, one must learn to appreciate each moment for exactly what it is, without any need for validation or sharing.

On first attempt this is quite difficult for most people, yet it gradually causes the self to learn and to grow. This experience becomes a unique, special blip of time that is kept just for the self and no one else. This makes the moments seem more and more grand.  Everyday monotonous tasks take on a kind of play-like nature. The ‘self’ or rather one’s own consciousness becomes an escape. A sort of secret world in which no one and nothing has access to.

Research shows that people begin to pick up traits from the ten people they spend the most time with. We pick up qualities from facial expressions, sayings, behaviors, and attitudes to even physical appearance and core personality traits. We are all slowly acquiring pieces of our best friends, family, and co-workers. While traveling solo, there becomes ample opportunity to get to know exactly who you are, what you want, and what it is that you do when there is no long term outward influence on your daily decisions, perspectives, and habits.

Yet with this said, the solo traveler owes a significant amount of the incredulity experienced in the journey to the people who make their way into the story. Some encounters are seconds long, some last weeks. Some may find their way to carry forward indefinitely through phone calls, letters, and memories. These wondrous people help to instill a sense of dumbfounded astonishment that would not prevail on such a deep level without these connections to break up the absolute solidity of the voyage.

From the quick encounters, such as the person in line at the grocery store who turns around and rattles off recipe ideas for the very few clearance items in the cart or the man at the pull off by the beach who stops to share a mind-bending video clip about energy waves and creation through intention, to the chance-meetings that turn into week long rendezvous of whatever nonsense is to be found… these connections, usually viewed as a bonus of the lifestyle instead of the main objection, are ironically enough what brings it all together and makes the story the epic novel it is destined to become.

Stay tuned.


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