You must be joking.  I may have done it before, way before.  Till my knees ached. Till my shoulders drooped. Till my back screamed ouch.  Till my mind never stopped wondering where I put my stuff.  Oh, how I wish I still have the energy and fearless wanderlust of the young.  But I certainly try.  At my age, you just have to give me A for effort.



The lust for adventure began with my first solo trip to another Asian city.   I was 18, and had to meet up with my parents in Hongkong.  It was not a lovely experience.  My nerves got in the way and that little paper bag behind the seat was put to good use as my hour-old meals decided to exit unceremoniously. The next chance I got was when I took a short course in England at a time when the EDSA revolution was unraveling.  Talk about perfect timing. I would have loved to be home then.  But as luck would have it, I was thousands of miles away.  I didn’t just study then,  I scrimped like crazy.  I stashed away half of my allowances into a kitty for my weekend travels , as well as for a 3 month long solo travel around Europe after I completed the short course.   Talk about “fearless wanderlust”,  I was young and carefree then and couldn’t be bothered that I crossed oceans from London to Washington DC with my last US$20 in my pocket.  I tempted fate then,  all too confident that my friends in US of A were just a phone call away to bail me out of whatever trouble I got into.  As things turned out,  my friend had to ask another friend (whom I met then for the first time) to fetch me at the train station where I ended up with my bottom $20.  Mind you, I had no credit card, ATM card nor cell phones then   =)



Since then,  I knew that traveling with or without a group,  the whole way or part of the way,  is a little luxury I just need to indulge in.  To visit and revisit the same sites etched in memory, and draw the same intensity of cheer and joy.   So I worked hard.  And saved good.   Good enough for an early retirement. There are far more things I can do without, and that supported my idea to quit and have a life .   Rather, to celebrate life!


Then and Now


I love traveling because I always come back with less cobwebs in my mind. It is as if I empty my mind of all clutter upon departure, and fill it with many happy memories upon arrival. I also like the idea that life is so focused on the present, and my senses are all playing to listen, feel , see, smell and taste everything novel or not so new. The fact that I only have to choose from a limited wardrobe, or use the same pair of shoes throughout my holiday , or work and survive on a single budget make life so much simpler. Sure, you sometimes get a raw deal in a few trips, or feel hassled by flight delays and cancellations, but the joys and simplicity of the present far outweigh the negatives. Oh, btw, I always end up gaining more friends after each trip. Many I kept……


Manhattan Skyline (Before 9-11)


Solo travelling allows you to discover places, but more so to discover one’s self.  It puts you in touch with your inner self and allows you to trust yourself (and others too) more and more.  In a way,  it boosts your self-confidence as you discover new boundaries.   Once you unravel yourself in this fashion,  you then find out how much you can celebrate life in a way only you can understand.  Who cares if others don’t?  The capacity for joy is a gift.  To find joy in your heart, even in solitude,  is a blessing.



I envy the young bloggers for their youth, energy and enthusiasm.  I still share the same sense of adventure, but I am now constrained to make solo trips only around the city.   After an unnerving misadventure in Nanjing, China where I took a nasty slip, hit my head on the pavement, broke my eyeglasses and ended up with the stem (that part which rides the ears) stuck near my eyebrow,  this old hag is not allowed to go solo beyond city limits.  A pity.  But the restriction does not in any way dampen the joy I have wandering around.    After all, there are so many places to visit and revisit.  I may not be your typical DSLR-toting blogger (too heavy for my bones to carry) ,  but my P&S cam serves the purpose to document the sites I enjoyed.


Nanjing Misadventure


So, while you young ‘uns are spelunking , scaling mountains, camping, diving into unknown waters , sailing,  or whatever else, this grandma travels — solo most often—  around the city checking out new food finds or revisiting churches and museums,  or simply enjoying the breeze along the Bay.   You see, there are more history lessons to be learned visiting these areas and I simply love “going back in time” to reminisce the good ol’ days.  More importantly,  I always find myself thanking Him that I find myself in these situations that bring so much cheer.  Truly, gratitude is the memory of the heart!


This is my entry to Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival on the theme “Solo Travel” hosted by Nina Fuentes aka Just Wandering