I’m losing a bit of zing in my travels. You know, that I-can’t-wait-to-see-this-and-do-that zing. Do you ever get that? In my solitary travels, I learn this truth about myself: Travelling is best paired with human connections.
I dedicate this post to G. How I miss thee.
Sometimes, I try to relate my experiences with those on Alone. Alone is a reality TV series where ten contestants challenge themselves to see how long they can survive on a deserted island in isolation with basic gear. The last person remaining wins half a million dollars. For a lot of them the incentive is more than the money. It’s to see where their limit is. Many can survive the harsh weather and find their own food source, but ultimately, the mental aspect– the loneliness– gets to them.
I get lonely sometimes travelling solo in Japan. Yes, I meet up with friends, but during the other times, my interaction is limited to those with the shop clerks or restaurant servers. It doesn’t go very far. When I meet other travellers or hosts who can speak English, that’s when I realize how important these connections are.
I go to Nara feeling a little lonely, but the funny is, there are a lot of Cantonese-speaking tourists. Makes me feel like I’m in Hong Kong.
Todaiji, The Big Buddha, in Nara
In Nara, other than the deers, the main attraction is the Big Buddha.
There are other temples in the surrounding areas. Those are neat too, with nice views.
An interesting observation is that there are many Japanese tourists in most of the places I go to. This suggests that domestic tourism is very healthy here.