Traveling alone can be intimidating, whereever you travel, whenever in life. Especially if you are a woman. Hell, walking through my local park I grew up on gives me the heebie jeebies at night if I let it. So having taken the bull by the horns on the other side of the world, I decided to impart some of my first impressions and lessons I have learned while traveling alone. Mind you, I think my total solo travel time amounts to about a week, so experience is limited.
For starters, be receptive. I find when you are alone people are more likely to talk to you or approach you, especially locals. Whether it be to help you or haggle you, both experiences usually turn out to be rewarding or at least an adventure. Yesterday, I did the Sunday Morning Walking Tour in Hanoi, Vietnam. A very early but very worth it tour, you awake at 5:30AM so you can hit the streets before the madness of the motorbikes. Hanoi, Vietnam is easily one of the CRAZIEST places I’ve ever been. But in a good way. More on that in a later post. Anyway, on the Sunday Morning Walking tour you go to the lake situated in the middle of the city, to see everyone exercising around it. There are many, many oldsters running, walking, doing Tai chi and dancing. It’s really a sight to see. While watching one of the older ballroom dancing crews, being that I was standing on the outskirts of the group, alone (side note: sometimes I think being blonde contributes, I am like a token westerner and easily spotted), I was approached by the cutest little old Vietnamese man ever, who held his hand out for a dance. He made me give my waterbottle to two random girls in my tour and escorted me to the dance floor, aka the patch of sidewalk next to the river where Vietnamese couples were dancing. And we danced. Waltzed I think, actually. Man, oh man, was he good. His posture, the way he glided and lead me (which I subconciously rejected- I still do not know how to be led on the dancefloor, ask my boyfriend)…I looked like an American goon. Anyway, I stood there smiling, wincing when I made a mistake, trying to keep up, through the duration of the song. He spun me this way and that with this sway and swagger. I felt like I was on the 76th Season of Dancing with the Stars, Elders Edition. It was such a precious experience. Anyway, my point is, let your guard down, smile, make a fool of yourself, and I hope you dance (Shout out Lee Ann Womack). Literally and figuratively.
Okay I was going to write more but am on sort of a time crunch. So I have added “Part I” to this title. This was my best solo encounter thus far so we can only go down from here.