Monday, May 31, 2010

Why I Travel Alone

Suvarnarbumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand.

UPDATED TODAY: Yeah I know this is an old post but I just wanted to add the picture above. Its an airport I find myself in a lot lately and many thoughts and posts have had their origins here.

Sunrise from Kinabalu Mountain, East Malaysia

"You travel alone???", people ask me incredulously with a look that can only mean they think that I am a serial killer of 3 legged cats or a grumpy Chindian on the verge of a mental collapse or on the brink of conversion to homosexuality. (no offense to you gay folks, I think you're the coolest to hang out with)

"Why NOT?", I shoot back.

"Is it safe? What do you do? Isn't it boring? I mean don't you like want to have someone to TALK to??? And then you eat alone some more???????" Typical Asian.

I have 3 travel modes:

1. Business - work and a pain in the ass. Entails packing a suit. A SUIT I TELLS YA! WITH A TIE! And a laptop. And files. And shirts and pants that i must iron!!! Did I mention files?

2. Casual getaways -

a. The Brotherhood of Dudes road trips - normally Bart, myself and sometimes Chewbaca getting our hands on the latest Evo and taking it for a test drive. All in Peninsula Malaysia - Penang, Frasers, Lumut, etc. Beers in the cooler, dried sotong in the sealed plastic bag, stops for fresh coconut water and keropok lekor by an endless beach in Terengganu.... :D

b. The one with some hot woman who would ravage me like a psycho rabbit in heat. Normally at some beach resort. Sadly this type of holidays have so far been a figment of my imagination.

3. Solo Impulse - just book a trip without research or planning, just going on gut feel. Started 2 years ago and something I try to do every 3-4 months.

I dont do groups - I'm not a food person so already have alienated myself from 80% of Malaysians. Most Malaysians will mould a holiday around food hunting. I just eat to keep from getting grumpy. Most of the folks I know would shop or visit local tourist traps. This holds frakall for me.

SO. Why I travel alone when I want to explore a new country:

Street art, Manchester city, UK
I like to wonder randomly around the streets with no real direction.

The Urbis building, Manchester
I almost always stumble on something cool especially when you're not looking for it.

Halong Bay, Vietnam
You get to take in so much more of the quiet unexpected moments

The Promenade, Penang Island
Something familiar looks totally different at an unfamiliar time

Hyde Park, London
I have all the time in the world to take in the little things.

Sunrise from Batur volcano in Bali
I can wait as long as I want if I think I'm going to see something magical

The break of dawn from the Toya Bongkah village in Bali.
My schedule is my own. Waking and sleeping as I please.

Fishermen's kids at Lovina in Bali.
I have more time to take in the lives of locals

Sunrise from an outrigger boat North Bali
I don't need a show of hands to plan my next activity

Pedestrian Tunnel, Clark Quay, Singapore.
Everyday places take on a whole new dimension without distractions

Surviving Buddha statue from the Vietnam war in Laos.
History and the past seem more relevant to solitary eyes.

Of course sometimes you want to share these moments. But it's hard enough to find a travel partner that doesn't fart or talk in their sleep, MUST eat like a cow 8 times a day, shop like Elton John or takes 5 hours to put on makeup for a kayak trip in an open ocean.

Maybe that someday will come when I learn to take someone along on the solitary trips but until then make mine a Solo Burger! (did Lucas copyright THAT as well???)


Jun-E said...

So far I haven't traveled alone that much... I should do it more often!

Need to travel need to travel need to travel *bangs head on cubicle wall*


Nice pics though. Porifo!

Chindiana said...

Heya Jun-E! Still young la, lotsa time to get that traveling done!

Thanks re. pics! I hope to buy a DSLR soon and hoping to get a wider variety of shots in! :D


ah lim said...

[quote]b. The one with some hot woman who would ravage me like a psycho rabbit in heat. Normally at some beach resort. Sadly this type of holidays have so far been a figment of my imagination.[/quote]

HAHAHA! LOL! You may need to be physically fit, ironman type of fit to experience that.

Eh, it is not the camera that makes the difference... it is the lens. THE LENS. That is why they're so freaking expensive.

Chindiana said...

Ah Lim! OK well, i need a camera to fit these lenses....

Nex said...

I feel a looooooooooong hiatus coming up...

Word verification: symption (symptoms in motion?)

Anonymous said...

Chindy, alone or not, grumpy smurf or happy smurf (this should give you hint of who I am...), you are inspiring.

Chindiana said...

Nex! me or you? :P

Anon! Thanks! RM5 teh tarik coming up! but still not 100% sure if its you...:)

Chindiana said...

Anon! Aahhhh OKOK! Many Smurfy THANKS to you! (BLUSH!)

Nex said...


May be calling you soon to seek your sage-ness on certain destinations...

Chindiana said...

Nexo! I'm booking Manada last5 days of April. Wanna come? Let me know by tomorrow ok.

word verification - reali :P

Nex said...

Thanks for the invite Chindi, I'll check and see if I can free up the time..

Thing is, can only fly from KL to Manada, which means at least one day of stop over on way there, and another day on way back...

word verification - matirru. To which I answer: Manada!

Chindiana said...

And sorry typo on my end, its ManadO.

J said...

LOL. Well, I remember my mum's absolutely quizzical/ "omg, is my daughter crazy??" face when I told her I didn't feel lonely at all walking around Paris alone.

I guess solo travelling is not for everyone?
(Nice photos btw!)

Chindiana said...

J! Thanks re pics! :D

Yeah solo travels not for all but the select few of us who can layan it get to take away so much more dont you think?