Monday, June 2, 2008

traveling 'alone'

I find it incredible how easy it is to find other people when you're
traveling 'alone.' I said earlier that this was my first time really
traveling alone, but I actually spent 3 weeks in Russia traveling
'alone' but I ended up being by myself for only 1 or 2 days so I
didn't really count that. This time I'm also feeling like I'm not
really traveling alone because I've made so many friends!

Meeting Helen was the best thing that happened at the beginning of my
trip. I joined her language class, and met many other people
(especially expats) through her. We were able to talk about our
research ideas and concerns and found we had many random things in
common (i.e. both of our mom's write math curriculum. how random is
that?). Now that Helen and I have parted ways, I imagined the rest of
my trip to be more solitary. Not exactly.


-Last weekend I met a middle-aged Brit at the hostel recommended to
me by my language teacher. He happened to be heading towards Nyota on
Saturday as well (though not quite as far), so we took the same bus
from the city towards Nyota and he got off about 2/3 of the way
through the ride. It was nice to have company for such a long bus ride.

-Helen's partner's classmate came to Ukenzagapia on Friday, and it
just so happens that she'll be working in a small town I was planning
to visit where there's hardly any accommodation because few tourists
go there and basically none stay there. So, I'll be staying with that
new friend next weekend.

-Monday night at the hostel I sat down for dinner with two
foreigners. One happened to be someone with whom I was exchanging
emails about hiking plans because the guides put us in touch, and the
other is an American Ph.D. student who works in the place I'm
visiting later this week. His work is somewhat related to mine and
I'm sure I'll get advice from him.

-When I return to the city before I fly home, I'm staying with the
other American from my language class.

Right now the only time for which I won't have a friend (yet) is
actually at Nyota. We'll see if that holds true.

Thankfully I haven't picked up any really persistent but unwanted
'friends' like I did in Russia (i.e. culturally obnoxious tourists
who want to take advantage of your language skills- however
rudimentary- or just generally need someone to listen to them talk).

What has your experience been traveling alone?

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