March-April 2014: Scattered thoughts on solo travelling

Some editorial food for thought


4.30 am. I look out of the wet window, staring at a distorted image of Lisbon as the water drops reflect the city’s night lights. The bus is full of young people, returning home after a crazy night. Laughter, loud voices and sparkling disagreements are mixed with a worn smell of alcohol. I am observing the bus driver, trying to figure out if he hates his night job, full of envy about this youth that surrounds him, or if he enjoys this atmosphere of carefreeness.

As the bus is crossing through one of Lisbon’s notorious neighborhoods, the cheerful youth is slowly being replaced by people who are getting to work. The atmosphere is getting heavier, highlighting a huge difference between lightsomeness and responsibility. But the bus never remains silent. All these people, usual passengers of the night bus 208 know each other and are warmly exchanging jokes and smiley goodmornings. I close my eyes, admiring the women next to me for their lives, being so fresh and bright at 5 in the morning, whereas I look like crap.

Solo traveling is a gift one can make to themselves. But returning somewhere for the second time is a priceless life lesson. It offers an enormous opportunity to see things from another point of view and to discover places and facts that would be impossible to notice as a first time visitor. But most importantly, it makes you notice change. It allows you to remember all that you felt the first time you walked on the same street and challenges you to feel it again. Familiar images, sounds and smells will bring you memories. Memories that you may or may not be able to face, feelings that you might have, or might not have gotten over. But good or bad, it will allow you to detect change in your way of thinking and your perspective of the world around you, or failing to detect all the above it will allow you to understand that maybe it’s time to change.

Discovering new places is an indescribable feeling, but I feel that sometimes it’s good to just go back and check what you’ve missed. Both inside your head and out of it. After all, a winter destination is a completely different place now that spring is at our doorstep!


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