Friday, 7 December 2012

on travelling alone:

I recently realised that I had never travelled by myself.
Everywhere I went, every city I've visited, I was with friends and/or loved ones.

I always had someone to be lost with, 

to share the excitments

 and to lean on, in the bus/train/plane.

I'm the opposite of forever alone.

That had to change.
So, I packed my stuff and went to Riga on my own.
Ok, it's just a 4 hours ride. And I only went for 2 nights...but I have to start small, ok?

A few years ago, I was in Lisbon, and remember seeing a lady taking a picture of herself in some turistic spot. 

At that time I pitied her. I thought: "This is a portrait of solitude. Taking pictures of oneself must be the loneliest thing ever." But now, I want to be her!  That lady was travelling alone, she was adventurous and independent and so self-suficient that she even took her own pictures!
With that in mind, on the last day I gained courage, reached for the camera and pointed at myself.
Unfortunatly, I didn't manage to get my face or the St. Peter church in the photo.

but it's fine, it's the thought that counts.
Regarding the weekend:
I managed to find a hostel and survive a very unplanned trip. Didn't visit any museums but walked insanely around the whole city to see EVERY SINGLE ART NOUVEAU BUILDING.
Travelling alone, I didn't have to make continuous pauses for someone to look for a toilet, or eat where the majority wanted to eat or go to the exhibition most people wanted to see.
I did only what I wanted, for the time I wanted, whenever I wanted! And discored how good it is to be a selfish brat!

It's fair to say that I didn't just go to Riga in a spree of independence. I wanted to check the Comics Artventures, and go to a workshop lead by Maria Ines Gul and Renata Gasiorowska.
I got there the day before, for their exhibition opening and, after that, a comic fight and concert.

So, let me put this straight: 
I went to an opening,
of an exhibition, 
in a different country, 
where I knew no one.

I have to mention that openings can be one of the most unconfortable social gatherings for me.
Sometimes galleries get so crowded I can hardly see the artworks. Or, when I do, and I don't get it and feel like there's some logic I must be missing out entirely, and I feel awkward about the whole idea of mingling with the artists and being there acting sociable and clever and everything seems so superficial that I start to freak out and may or may not trip in one of the scultures on my way out of the gallery...
So, that night, in Riga, as I went to Kaņepes Kultūras centrs, I passed a cabaret with burlesque shows and imediatly made a plan B for the night.
"I don't want to be standing in the corner of the exhibition drinking wine by myself - If I can't talk to anyone I'll just leave and go to a Burlesque show. "
 I came to Riga on my own, I can see ladies wearing corsets and dancing on my own, too, god damnit! 

(i just googled for burlesque dancers and emma watson appeared in the search. i'm as susprised as you are.)

But happily it all went well and I can save the plan B for another time. People were really nice and aproachable and I had fun!

Anyway, what about you? Am I the only freakishly dependent person who wouldn't go anywhere by herself?
Did you ever do something that left you with this feeling of independence that my friend Sofia describes like "the moment you realise the world is your oyster".

Because I feel like I'm in a sort of aging sweet spot: I still want to do childish stupid things, and now I actually have the age to do them on my own!
There's this article in Rookie that describes it well:
"not everything is better if you share it with another person. All those fries are yours. And you get to explore whatever you want on your own time, go into your dream world, sit in the bookstore and scheme up random correlations between subjects, dress up for the special occasion of bonding with your favorite pinball game…it’s like being five again, only you know how to cross the street by yourself and not get hit by a car."

do you know what I mean?


  1. the world IS your oyster. I'm glad for your pearl moment.
    so cheesy.
    moving ooooon
    i've been feeling like that as well, but in a same-city-same-school mood. It's like.. I can actually do stuff. And I can start by the small ones, like having breakfast for dinner on a random monday or having a zombie movie marathon on a random wednesday, and ending with more courageous ones like going to a concert, in another city, by my own.

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  3. edit: during our summer trip through the balkans we met so many people traveling alone, even if it was for two years or something. i´m sure you just plain feel a big sense of freedom. i think i could do it now, but i keep on thinking that there will come times when i´ll think "aww, there's none here to talk about this wonderful view".

    my forever-alone experiences now revolves around being in clubs, usually because my friends keep on leaving earlier than me. there's this wonderful thing about being by yourself in a berliner club and you just meet this awful lot of people from everywhere, and the feeling in the end is the same — i tell the story the next day, but they literally have not the right idea of what i´m talking about. it's fine...

  4. I'm going on a trip to Italy for 10 days on my own and I'm already starting to feel that. I've been traveling "sort" of alone, but at the end of the day I'd meet with my parents so, it doesn't really count. But I know how it feels somehow, it's like you're on your own but you feel like you've accomplished something special.