Provocative Quote on Traveling Alone

January 6th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Eastward to Tartary, Quotes, Robert D. Kaplan

There is no magic like traveling alone, without friends or colleagues to condition one’s opinions. It is the very loneliness that makes travel worthwhile: to be in isolation with historical forces, with only landscapes and books as guides.

–From Robert Kaplan’s Eastward to Tartary, page 121

When I studied abroad, I traveled alone. Sort of. I went with a program from a different law school, and no one from my school was on the same trip. I didn’t know anyone when I arrived in Budapest and the people in the same program were spread all over a huge dorm, one person to a room. I arrived a few days before the start of classes, so I was definitely traveling solo at first, although I quickly made some friends with other students in my program.

Traveling alone is nice, but at first it is also scary and intimidating. Upon arriving in Budapest, I accidentally told the cab driver to take me to the wrong location, and then very nearly lost my laptop. If it weren’t for an exceedingly nice English-speaking clerk at a hotel near where I was dropped off, I would have been in serious trouble. I remember calling my husband that night, slumped up against the wall of the pay phone booth, sobbing hysterically.

Have you ever traveled alone?

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Roberta // Jan 6, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Although there are many activities I’ve learned to do and enjoy by myself, travelling isn’t one of them.

  • 2 Fern // Jan 6, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    That’s okay, I’m not sure I agree with Kaplan. Part of what I enjoy about traveling is sharing the adventure with someone else and hearing their (often different) impressions of the same experience.

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