An acquaintance once asked me in surprise, “Do you like to eat alone?”
Still in surprise, she asked again, “You also like to travel alone?”
Since then I wondered, isn’t it going to be more frightening if you couldn’t spend sometime alone? Only to date yourself? If you couldn’t even feel comfortable with yourself, then how can people feel comfortable with you? If you do not love yourself, then how can people love you? If you never spend sometime with yourself, how could you ever truly know them?
When I say that I like to travel alone, it doesn’t mean that I don’t like to travel with other people. I like to have someone to think about the itinerary with. I like to have someone that I can have a talk before I go to sleep or having a cup of instant noodles with when we were stranded in an airport in the middle of the night.
But, I also couldn’t enjoy less when I decide to travel alone. I love just to meet new people in the new places, hearing stories about their lives that have been built far before I met them. I love to be able to compromise with myself with open itinerary and don’t care about what I want to eat or where I want to go later. I can just impulsively change my direction in a moment or just sitting as long as I want to listen to the street musicians.
I really like making plans in life and make it as something that I can hold on to in my day to day life. While traveling alone gives me the freedom from doing it. It gives me room to breath and it shows me that sometime life could go unexpectedly. And you might find something beautiful along the way.
I didn’t do any solo travel last year. After my father passed away, there were times in my life that I felt so scared of being alone. I consider human’s mind is the most dangerous enemy. It’s more evil than any other thing that you could’ve imagined. Yet, it is the closest one to you.
Writing, taking pictures, and travelling are my kind of oxygen. It helps me to control my anxiety, it helps me to relax, and more importantly, it gives me a sign that I am still alive. But during that period of time, I stopped doing any of them. I was afraid of travelling alone simply because so suddenly I had no idea how to deal with myself. I stop writing and taking pictures because I just stop seeing the other beauty in life. And somehow along the way, I felt that I lost myself.
To start this year, I decided to travel alone and Rome became my first destination. This was the first time I was in Rome as well as in Italy. Unlike most people who perceive Paris to be a romantic city, for me the cities in Italy are. Maybe, I’m just part of the movie victim that always depict Italy as a beautiful country. Beside the price of the air ticket that is super cheap (I found a return ticket for only 20 euro from Belgium), I choose this city as a place for me to find myself back and to fall in love with me again.
I couldn’t express enough how happy I am to start the new year by setting on my foot again. And the first thing I have to face as I arrived in Rome is: memory. In every beautiful places I visited, it always remind me of my father. Even on the train between Fiumicino and Rome city centre, I saw a young boy sat on the lap of his father and playing with his beard. The memory stroke of how I liked to play with my father’s freshly shaved beard.
I walked around the aisles of Rome, I stopped and sat whenever I wanted to. I just spent 30 minutes to listen to the quintet playing in front of the Fontana del Nettuno. I let myself to cry out loud in Basilica di San Paolo fuori le mura, telling God how jealous I am with the fact that he makes my father happy without me while sometime I feel that life is so hard without him.
It’s really hard not to fall in love with Rome. The city, the view, the food, the people… And I’m glad that I chose Rome. At the end, Rome didn’t only make me fall in love with everything it has in it but also a place where I finally found my remedy. A place that provides me a chance to find and to love myself back again.
Some parts of my heart left in Italy and for sure, I will be back again. Soon… Ciao amore! ❤
More pictures of my trip to Rome is available here.