Today, while I was marveling at the amazing Hong Kong skyline, and waiting for the Symphony of Light to begin, a girl came up next to me and said hello. I met her yesterday while getting tickets to take the tram up to the Peak Tower. She asked if the massive line was for the ticket, or to board the tram. I told her there was no line for the ticket. We then ran into each other at a Vietnamese restaurant in the building next to the Peak Tower. We lightly chatted, but went on with our own meals alone (turns out we were both disappointed by the view after an annoying trek up with all that tourists, and both wanted to just be alone).
It was thus quite a serendipitous encounter to see her again across the harbor. If she were a guy, it would’ve made for a very movie-esque beginning to a love story. We began chatting and enjoyed the light show together, and then we took the ferry back to Hong Kong island and had dinner together in an hip hole-in-the wall Mexican restaurant, Brickhouse, in the cool neighborhood of Lun Kai Fung – definitely a place that you wouldn’t want to go alone.
Throughout my chat with my new friend, we reached a consensus – Hong Kong is not a fun city to travel alone. I was glad to commiserate with someone on the frustrating day yesterday where things didn’t quite meet expectation. We both are in Hong Kong for business, and thus staying at a hotel. We agreed that when we travel alone and stay in hostels, the dynamic is much different.
All of these conversations resonated with some thinking I did earlier today on solo travel. I haven’t travel extensively alone, but enough to really appreciate and crave for these journeys. Solo travel is wonderful for the soul. It provides an opportunity for self-reflection and to examine the busy lives that we lead. Being alone also makes it easier to make friends with perfect strangers, who are also wandering the world, alone or otherwise.
Not to mention the pure freedom of solo travel – I love never needing to create an itinerary. My entire trip is based on how I feel at any moment in time. If I want to wander aimlessly for hours, I can. If I want to sit at Starbucks (or insert other quaint café names) and read for hours, why not? If it’s 100 degrees outside and all I want to do is watch CNN in my hotel room, no one would judge me (other than maybe you who is reading this). Each wonderful moment is mine, and mine alone.
But that is also the problem with solo travel. There will never be a time where someone will remind me of these amazing moments. There will never be the “remember that one time” conversations on my solo journey. Sometimes, views and experiences are so breathtaking that you wish someone were there to share it with you, as to validate that it truly isn’t a dream. Sometimes, after an absurd travel experience, you want someone to have a beer with and ask, “did that really just happen?”
As with all thing in life, balance is key. I still adore solo travel, and plan to do plenty of it in the future. What are you thoughts on solo travel? Love it? Hate it? Good to have it in moderation?
Below is a brief clip of Symphony of Lights that I saw tonight. One of those moments where it’s cool to share with someone.