I’m still pondering yesterday’s poll, about a substitute for romantic love. Could travel be a stand in?
Image: Shahir Zag
I’ll always remember a line from the movie, Into the Wild, “happiness only real when shared.” I believe that to be true, and my take on this is sharing happiness with a soul mate, a husband, a partner.
I’ve had profound experiences sharing happiness with friends and community. I think that counts just as much.
Travel is fun, but it’s not a substitute for romantic love. Both can be adventures, but the depth of enjoyment that I’ve gotten from romantic love far exceeds that which I’ve gotten from travelling.
Sharing happiness in nice but I’ve had some truly blissful experiences that I’ve enjoyed on my own. Hiking, walking through a botanical garden, cooking, eating out, yoga. In fact, having another person around would have been a distraction. It probably has to do with being completely absorbed in the moment. I would love to travel alone (however safety and financial reasons prevent me from doing that). I think it’s a good substitute for “springtime love” as it would be something new and exciting.
I mean, it’s hard to compare, but travelling can be such a pure and empowering experience. It may sound silly, but when I’ve travelled alone for work, it was exciting to know I could function on my own even while not at a home base. Of course, having not actually experienced a romantic love I can look back on fondly, I may not be the best to answer this question.
I love to travel. I travel for work all the time. I’ve traveled solo for pleasure many times, but I don’t find it as enjoyable as I used to. There is somethiing about having someone there to share and discuss what you’ve seen. I’ve been to Paris several times alone and enjoyed it, but the last time, in 2007, I really felt the pangs of loneliness on the road for the first time. I’ve pretty much resolved not to be alone in Paris again. Travelling with friends however is wonderful. I was in Rome last December and could not have enjoyed it more. Is travel a substitute for romantic love? No, but it is great fun and a worthwhile distraction from everyday life.
A few years ago, I vacationed in Italy, with a good friend. I’d traveled with him many times before so I knew it would work well. I definitely prefer companionship when I’m on the road for fun. And I really admire those who go solo.
I’ve found that the joy I gain from solo travel is certainly comparable to the joy I gain from the times I have romantic love in my life. They’re just different types of joy. But, in my opinion, neither better.
Here’s to joy!
It depends on the location, but I often love traveling alone. I don’t know that I would have wanted anyone I knew with me on top of the Great Wall. I was so absorbed in just taking it all in, I didn’t want to have a conversation. Plus, the Great Wall is a tough climb if you’re on the shorter side (weird that it’s in China), as some of the steps are HUGE and I had to kneel on them to get up and sit on them to get down (and I’m 5’5, not that short), significantly slowing me down…I couldn’t imagine having a taller man with me, wanting to go faster. That’s the example that springs to the front of my mind. Other great trips I’ve made alone include Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, and various U.S. cities, although the U.S. cities are just as fun with company. I prefer Europe with company, though I could probably do the countryside alone and enjoyed Berlin alone (biergartens are great places to make random friends).
Kim, outside of high-risk areas, don’t be afraid to go alone. OBVIOUSLY you need to take safety precautions (lock your hotel/house doors, don’t tell people you’re traveling alone, know where you are and where you’re going, make sure someone knows where you are and set up times to check in with them – and if you don’t check in they should call the local police/embassy, etc.), but I’ve been all over the place alone and with coworkers where we didn’t really hang out outside of work hours, and I’ve never been in a sticky situation. It’s really empowering, even to just rent a cabin in the woods and build your own fire or whatnot. Plus, you’re on your own schedule…you do what you want, when you want, how you want. Honestly, that’s the best part of traveling alone.
I’m totally in love with the world.
I love your exuberance, JoDa!
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