I had this longing to travel alone the entire time I was in Singapore. I didn’t know exactly why while I was there, but looking back at it now, I do. For the past few years, I’ve been trying to understand my weird thoughts, feelings, habits and overall myself. I found that being alone and feeling completely comfortable with it was important, because then I could be more aware of what was happening within and without me. I remember putting myself in some uncomfortable situations and just sitting back and soaking up the awkwardness. Little things that would reeeeally take up my headspace before, slowly started to vanish and I felt a little more at peace.
And so I decided I wanted to explore Vietnam alone! 🙂 The trip started with three other friends up North, in Sapa…
Then, we split up. The fact that my trip started with friends made that first moment I was alone feel so distinct. All the chatting, laughing and making up of rap lyrics through the mountains came to a stop. It was now just me, my thoughts and the sounds of the city of Hanoi.
Next stop was Ninh Binh, for some well needed nature. I had my most meaningful encounters with people there. A super hippie guy from America who was fasting for 3 days, and two other guys from Denmark who decided to join him for 24 hours (I was still stuffing my face for breakfast, lunch and dinner). It wasn’t until I was in the taxi that I realised we didn’t take a single picture together or exchange contacts.
Then, I spontaneously agreed to go on a motorbike tour with a man I met outside the train station in Da Nang. I got a really good vibe from Vietnamese people most of the time and rarely felt unsafe or threatened.
Travelling alone was one of the most liberating feelings. It’s no better than travelling with others. They’re both completely different. There were times I wanted to tell someone what I was thinking or feeling and hear what they thought or felt. Maybe I wanted to laugh at something I saw or have some company while I ate lunch. But I met incredible people, especially locals, that I probably would not have met otherwise. I wasn’t distracted by conversations in moments that I really wanted to soak up everything around me. I experienced intense feelings of happiness, peace, awe and fear. Whether it was sitting on top of a hill at 6 am, with a 360 degree view of beautiful limestone karsts or cycling 9 km back to my hostel in absolute pitch black, praying that I wouldn’t get kidnapped.