They say: “If you travel with someone, you talk to your companion. If you travel alone, you talk to the world.”
Over years of traveling, I have come to prefer traveling solo. I enjoy the freedom and I tend to make new friends where ever I go. For the last decade or so, I aim for extended stays in places I love — like Paris, with a few shorter side trips. In Europe, making Paris my home base is how I’ve gotten to know neighborhoods and happenings off the tourist track. I have regular markets, libraries, cinemas, Metro stations, a gym and an ice cream lady who has my favorite cone waiting for me when she sees me heading in her direction. I often feel like a local—even if the real locals would never grant me such status.
I gain new insights each stay. I love knowing little cultural quirks you can only learn by trial and error (e.g. never reach for produce at a farmer’s market and forget about getting butter with bread at a restaurant after breakfast.) I’ve been scolded and frowned at—and laughed each time, realizing I’m being schooled in the ways of others.
By sharing my experiences I hope to provide vicarious pleasure and maybe some information and ideas to those considering similar adventures.
(Although 2020 travel is truncated by an invisible virus, I’m always looking ahead to my next trip. Planning, even a year or so away, can extend your journeys—on the front end.)