Typical. Just when you think you’ve bitten the bullet and set off on a solo-adventure to “find” yourself, you end up meeting some handsome German guy who sweeps you off your feet. I spent years looking for that guy in a bar only to have him encroach on designated, uninterrupted “me” time. On the whole, having a dashing foreigner pick me up over a bucket of booze at the full-moon party wasn’t all that bad, but to this day, I can’t watch “Good Morning Vietnam” (pause for a moment of reverence in memory of the late and great Robin Williams) without clenching my teeth and raising a shaky fist in the air with feigned annoyance. Here’s why.
The Happy (solo) Traveler
It all started in Bangkok. I had been traveling for a few weeks by that time, working my way up from Singapore and passing through Malaysia via Malacca, Langkawi, Penang and Kuala Lampur and avoiding tourists like the plague. I had set out alone, created a map of where exactly I wanted to go and what I wanted to see, and was determined to stick to my guns. I rose with the sun and returned around dusk when it became less than ideal for me to wander around solo. Now, don’t get me wrong, I met some fabulous people along the way who were great for dining after dusk (hats off to Julia and Patricia, two of my favourite Germans of all-time); sharing a gondola ride up Penang hill (because 3 white people being stared at is way less awkward);or embarking on a chaotic adventure involving waterfalls, a crazy Russian, a couple of newlyweds and an island with no taxis. But honestly, on the whole, I absolutely loved the parts of my trip where I just wandered around alone for what seemed like hours, stopping to grab sugar cane juice in a bag from this hole in the wall or some pineapple tarts from that little bakery just around the corner. I was on a mission to take charge of my own life, making my own plans and doing so well, until… he came along. Continue reading