Non-Governmental Imagination

I love being alone in foreign countries
December 6, 2006, 4:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I usually crave people. When I´m on my own, I seem to have little adventures that I rarely do when I travel with others.

Today I was walking back from the hospital after a comparatively long day. In Ecuador, we were never done before 7pm, and here, after only being here for two days I gather that 5:30pm is pretty late. So we were leaving at around 5:45pm today, and I waited awhile outside the changing room holding one of our sick nurses´ IV solution bag. Since the sickies were all taking a cab back I walked back to the hotel alone.

Two people about my age that I walked by motioned for me to come over. At first I thought they were trying to sell me something, but after giving them an uncharacteristic second look, I realized they were just curious folks.

As we walked back, we started talking. My Spanish sucks (a word I had to explain numerous times to them) as did they{re English, but we made do in the middle somehow. I needed to buy some batteries, so they taught me how to say that and took me to some places to find some. I bought them a beer for their kindness and we talked for at least 90 minutes. The girl, Gallito (I think), had this really cute sense of humor and would stick her tongue out whenever she thought anything was funny or interesting. David does security at the hospital and saw me walking in and out of the hospital on my gopher runs all day. He is more chill and understood more English, so he was often a go between.

It is really hard to learn another language. But its really gratifying to move this fast. I´ve mainly travelled in countries where the language has been extremely foreign and difficult, so to be in a place with an easy language is quite a pleasure. If I had been walking with the group or even one person, there´s no way they would have approached me.

But they did, and now I have two new friends. I need to be alone more often, in the US and abroad, to facilitate more such interactions.


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I can’t recommend traveling alone enough now. Thought I’d be lonely from time to time, but I actually ended up with much more variety of human contact then I would’ve had if I’d been with a travel partner. Only problem is that sometimes during the long stints, you ache for someone who knows you better than can be accomplished in 4 to 48 hours.

Wonder if it also works in the U.S. . . .?

Sidenote: as a new blogger myself, any advice? Why wordpress over blogger?

Comment by Becca

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