Monday, February 8, 2010

Why I'm Traveling Alone

Some people seem astonished that I am traveling alone for most of my trip.  Others wouldn't do it any other way.  Here are my thoughts.

I might get lonely.  I'm okay with this.  Isn't that how I'm supposed to find myself?  If I do get lonely, and I probably will at times, I'm not worried; I can always fall back on my usual crutch of tweeting and facebooking.

But loneliness-- and fear of loneliness-- is a way to meet people.  And I want to meet people.  More than seeing the sights, or eating the food, or geocaching my way across the continent, I want to make friends.  

I hope to make a friend for life on this trip.  I know that most of the friends I make will be transient: waiters and store owners and co-hostelers and such.  But I'm hoping for at least one lifelong friend from, say, Ireland, who one day will be the life of the party at my son's Bar Mitzvah.

So I want to travel alone.

On the other hand, I'll have to lug my iPad with me when I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  And everywhere else I go.  In fact, for ten weeks, I'll have no one to watch my stuff.  There's an argument for having a travel buddy.  Travel buddies are like theft insurance.  Even if they don't protect your stuff, you have someone to hold accountable after it gets stolen.  Which it will, apparently, in Barcelona.

But there are so many practical reasons to travel alone!  You can see more in a day, which means seeing a lot more in ten weeks.  You have no one to argue with.  No one to wait for in the morning.  You can take the last seat on the train, the last bunk in the hostel, the last panini in the display case.  You can be utterly, completely, totally selfish.

Which reminds me of the biggest reason I want to travel alone.  Because I'll probably never get to do it again.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Planning is the Hardest Part

With less than three months left on the job, my trip planning is well underway.  Here's the itinerary so far.  What tips can you offer?  Should I be doing less?  Tell me in the comments.

Ireland: 7 days
Scotland: 5 days
England with Aimee: 8 days
Barcelona, Spain: 3 days
South of France: 2 days
Monaco: 1 day
Italy: 5 days
Switzerland: 3 days
Munich, Germany: 2 days
Prague, Czech Republic: 2 days
Austria: 3 days
Hungary, Budapest: 3 days
Stockholm, Sweden: 2 days
Baltic Cruise with the Family: 10 days
Amsterdam with Erica: 2 days
Belgium with Erica: 2 days
Paris, France with Erica: 5 days