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Monday, November 7, 2016

The joys of traveling alone

I recently returned from a solitary three week visit to Paris. Some friends are mystified by my propensity for traveling alone and au pif* (*au pif = following my nose, my feelings, rather than having fixed plans.)

Aren't you frightened? Will you be safe? Won't you be lonely?

But each day of my visit confirmed the benefits of my decision as I wandered the city that I know so well. Most people think I am French and Paris feels like home. I reconnected with old friends and meandered through the streets, camera in hand, always ready to capture the sights or accidental glimpses into the lives of others.

When you're alone you're not distracted by conversation with your traveling partner.
       You can be free to engage with people that you encounter in your travels.
       You can be fully present with your surroundings, fully alive, fully attentive, fully in the moment.

There is no better place to do this than Paris with tremendous variety in neighborhoods and outstanding opportunities for people watching, window shopping, and eavesdropping. I took advantage of the city's cultural offerings: museums, galleries, and dance performances. And the food! There is endless variety in markets, charcuteries, and restaurants. You never have to cook if you don't want to.
But there are moments when it would be nice to have a traveling companion to share a gorgeous sunset, to walk along the Seine hand-in-hand, or to enjoy a romantic dinner. Let's face it, dining alone is not fun.

Maybe someday I'll meet someone new who will understand and appreciate my energy and my independence while offering the closeness and affection that I desire.

It's easy for me to meet new people. I'm not shy and have joined some organizations to support my hobbies. However, I've yet to meet any interesting unattached men in my current circle of contacts. So I have decided to sign up on an online dating site. There seem to be quite a few people who are looking for companionship, and it's possible to screen for interests and other factors.

I'll let you know if I meet anyone!