Ex­pe­ri­ence the world alone

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWO CENTS - By Qi Xi­jia

Be­fore the Na­tional Day hol­i­day, I texted my friend Nora as I planned my next trip. Sadly she replied me with a cry­ing emoji. “Sorry, I may spend the seven-day hol­i­day at home,” she replied. “Do you feel like trav­el­ling with me dur­ing the hol­i­day?” I texted an­other friend, Huizi. “I need to re­turn to my home­town,” she replied.

Although re­fused by my friends, I don’t want to waste the hol­i­day do­ing noth­ing. So I opened my lap­top and booked a re­turn ticket to Hong Kong and a bed at a youth hos­tel. All set­tled. When I told ev­ery­one that I ac­tu­ally de­cided to travel alone, they seemed quite taken aback by that idea. “I would never think of it,” said one. “If I had to travel alone I’d rather can­cel my trip,” re­sponded an­other.

Trav­el­ing alone for many Chi­nese is the last thing they want to do, but I think it is in­dul­gent and I love it. My first solo trip was five years ago, when I caught a flight from Nurem­berg to Eng­land. I spent an evening watch­ing King Lear in Lon­don. I climbed to the top of the Eif­fel Tower on my own, too! I have walked through the Bran­den­burg Gate on a gloomy week­day af­ter­noon alone. If I waited un­til oth­ers were avail­able, I would have missed out on these ad­ven­tures.

In fact, you are never alone on a solo trip. Even if you start off alone, by the end of the day you will make many friends on the road, be­cause trav­el­ing alone forces you to turn to other peo­ple for help who you would never have had the chance to talk to if you were with friends.

My trips are al­ways more fun be­cause of the time I spend with these strangers. Trav­el­ing alone also helps avoid ne­go­ti­a­tions, com­pro­mises and even fights with your travel mates. What time to wake up, where and when to eat, the ra­tio of ac­tiv­i­ties ver­sus rest time... all this can be de­cided by your­self. There’s no one to tell you which di­rec­tion to go, drag you into stores or push you to hurry up. Want pic­tures? Take as many as you can. Want to sip cof­fee and peo­ple-watch? Do it.

The great­est value of a solo trip is per­sonal growth. Each time you go some­where by your­self, you be­come a lit­tle bit more in­de­pen­dent, so­phis­ti­cated and ac­com­plished from each de­ci­sion you take and each friend you make. Don’t let oth­ers keep you from ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the world.

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