This is our monthly project on #Solo #Travelers which are created from interviews and engagements that Travlyng authors have with active travelers. If you are interested to be interviewed for your travels, please reach out to us on Twitter.

Breaking the Horizon or Making it?

Some words exist to counterbalance two notions. The widely known, common meaning of the word ‘Horizon’ is, “it is the line at which the earth and the sky ‘appear’ to meet.” Everything would have been fine without a single word in the sentence which problematizes a rather simple setup; and that word is ‘appear’. There’s always a tussle between Appearance and Reality and factually speaking, it is impossible for the sky and the earth to meet. It is the limitation of our field of vision that assumes a possible intermingling.

The second definition of the word according to the Cambridge English Dictionary is, “A person’s horizons are the limit of that person’s ideas, knowledge, and experience.” No wonder a lot of us, especially those who are born to explore, aspire to widen their horizons, considering it is nothing more than a limitation. We go beyond the horizon to attain a comprehensive taste of the world, but ironically enough we focus on the same horizon (skyline) when motion sickness assails us. The horizon is steady; it gives us a sense of being aligned with our centripetal force, without which we might be flung against an intimidating oblivion. The answer lies in finding a balance. Extremes hardly work.

Even while we are constantly on the move due to travelling, we long for some amount of solidity. To answer this natural yearning, we must develop an emotional horizon. It can be attained through forming relationships, or by being assured of the fact that there is a family to return to. Staying in touch is the key, of course.

My communication with family and friends actually INCREASED after I started travelling full-time... Over the years, I have treasured my visits home because my family is a barometer of who I am and in some cases, how travel has changed me.

These are the words of Nora Dunn, an avid traveller and a writer who elaborates the concept of the figurative horizon on her website based on true experience.

Solo Travel and Relationships: Attachment and Freedom

Solo travellers sometimes tend to go “off the grid”, in the words of Christopher, and may inadvertently lose contact with the family. Christopher, therefore, suggests mailing the fretting loved ones from time to time. Social media is not a rivalry-driven, peer-pressured medium of finding validation, for everybody. On the contrary, our soloists consider it to be a ‘worry dissolving device of communication.’ To add more to the context I should also include what Megan, who also has an incredibly close family, has to say. She has a very pragmatic take on travelling and the retention of friendship. She believes that,

The friendship is never the same. You change in each other’s absence. You miss milestones and momentous occasions. You move down separate paths and you move on...When you commit to save for travel you may find you’re not able to eat out with your friends anymore, or spend money on social outings.

Does that mean a solo traveller walks a very lonely path? Not at all! Nora says that it is important to have a home base, not just in a place where one can be in close proximity to the people he/she knows for a long time, but also in places away from the motherland where familiarity grows out of a long-term connection. Nora is not into favouritism, but her ‘fix’ with the Andes and the Latin Americas (Peruvian and Ecuadorian Andes) is a matter of the match between context and discovery, due to which she has formed a home base in these areas. This is also one of the advantages of being a solo traveller. One has the complete freedom of choice.

As a solo traveller you can spend an hour at a place that captures your heart on a personal level when you only thought you might spend 15 minutes, and you can leave early from a site that doesn’t speak to you.

– Christopher

When you are travelling on your own, you are on your own schedule; you do not have to negotiate where to go or what to eat... And it is really difficult to find the right time and right place for everyone.

– Queenie from mstravelsolo

Spiritual Freedom vs. Materialistic Freedom

Very few can travel extensively and afford a luxurious life at the same time. Therefore, the majority cuts back on superfluous expenses. Megan, for example, suggests giving up on alcohol (if you are in the habit that is), eating out and the purchase of luxury goods, in order to acquire the reward of travelling. I would also add cigarettes to the list.

What makes these people stand out most, however, is their absolute nonchalance to physical things. Christopher once was robbed of his phone in India. So what was his reaction?

Honestly, I took it as a kind reminder that my phone was just a thing, and as long as I had my health, I could consider myself fortunate.

These people are solely driven by the desire to travel freely. That is why travellers like Megan want immigration procedures to be simpler. Applying for visas should not be such a hassle. Queenie sees great adversities in international laws which allow travellers only a limited number of days in a country, and are therefore not favourable towards digital nomads. In this context I would like to share a piece of news I recently came across which shows a glimmer of hope.

The Estonian ministry has proposed to launch a special visa for digital nomads. This will allow them to stay in the country for a year and in addition they can get the benefits of a Schengen visa that can be used to visit the member countries with a stay limit of 90 days!

We can only cross our fingers and hope for the viable in a world where the workforce is slowly moving towards location independence.

The Ultimate Winner

The desire to travel freely is shared by many people irrespective of class, race and nationalities, despite the fact that Immigration laws are stringent on travellers belonging to third world nations. The enjoyment of visa free or visa on arrival facility in most of the countries of the world is not open to everybody. Janus, who currently lives in Honk Kong and has previously lived in mainland China, is a traveller belonging to a country with a weak passport. He is a South African. He says

I’ve become very comfortable with the idea of applying for visas. Just had to apply for another passport as my current one is officially full. But it’s not all bad.

Sometimes one might even stumble upon unanticipated discoveries when one has no better option than choosing a destination that offers free or on arrival visa to the concerned citizen over a place where getting a visa is time-consuming. (And time is our only enemy). Janus

ended up visiting Russia for a few days last year which was never on (his) travel wish list, but (he) was on (his) way to Turkey and it was just announced that South Africans don’t need visas to go anymore. So (he) took a chance and fell completely head over heels in love with Moscow.

New Discoveries Widening Knowledge

If travelling be the means, Discovery is the end. It is impossible to see the entire extent of the earth within a single life. But with every new finding documented by a traveller we have one less unmapped territory to demystify. Google works as a documentation manual today. The search engine is like a whirlpool, becoming enriched with every new data fed into it. We were lucky to interview a photographer and a traveller, whose contribution to the existing pool of knowledge is indispensable. David

was in a small village of Bulgaria called Melnik, which is popular for its unusual geographical formations, a couple of years ago. (He) saw on the map that there was a monastery nearby and had found one person who said that it was possible to hike there, but not how. So when (he) was there (he) figured out the route and how tricky it was and then wrote a post about the experience. Now when one searches for information on the monastery or the hike, (his) post has the answer.

Travel bloggers are the best guides to talk about new adventures and inspiration if you are looking for one. Travlyng is a conglomeration of these travellers. We are moving forward with the mission of bringing all of them together on our platform. If you want to share your amazing stories and tips with us, just knock on our Social Media gates!

So, would you like to be on our next month’s issue?
Reach out to us on Twitter!

Guest Travelers

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Megan Clair Jerrard

Megan is an Australian journalist who has been traveling since 2007. Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan has accumulated a wealth of...

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Nora Dunn

Nora retired from a successful career in Canada, and decided to fulfil her dream of travelling the world. Ironically however, she never retired from work. She o...

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Travelling had always been a huge part of her identity, but Queenie started travelling solo a little later in her life at a point when the urge to travel was to...

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David is addicted to travelling because that is where he spends all his resources and time. Though he developed a passion for photography while travelling, he b...

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Janus is a 28 year old South African guy from the capital city of Pretoria who is currently living in Hong Kong. He has previously lived in mainland China and h...

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Christopher Mitchell

Christopher Mitchell is a Canadian travel blogger, freelance writer, podcaster, photographer, and a few other things depending on the day. He currently resides...

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My love for books and stories developed as a result of my mother’s desperate attempt at getting me off of Cartoon Network. Bottomline is, it was a win win for both of us. A literature major by profession, I love to immerse myself in stories and narrate them my way, with my curious nose sniffing its way into unknown territories.