Travelling is Best Paired with Human Connection

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.

The gates.
The ticket.
The temple.
The Big Buddha and the Bodhisattva beside him. Another one is on his left side, but not visible here.
The statue is almost 15m high. I take 2 photos and merge them together to demonstrate this. No kidding sir on the left, binoculars seem like a good idea.

There are other temples in the surrounding areas. Those are neat too, with nice views.

A group of tourists.

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.


2 thoughts on “Travelling is Best Paired with Human Connection”

  1. Human connections are always needed, whether it is traveling abroad, working at your 9-to-5 gig, or placing your 13-syllables Starbucks order with the barista (in case you’re wondering, my order is an extra-hot, half-sweet, non-fat, no foam, green tea latte; aka XHHSNFNFGTL). But I wouldn’t be so quick to brush off the benefits and perks of finding solitude in your travels. Then again, loneliness and solitude are two very separate things. I dread the former, but relish in the latter. If it’s any consolation, loneliness is, in most cases, temporary. And the silver lining is that when you do find that rare connection, you make the most out of it.

    1. Thanks G. I agree. I enjoy my solitude. It rejuvenates me; loneliness on the other hand, brings me down. It is a very minute difference and I find I have to be proactive to reverse the effects of loneliness, to find human connection. Understanding this becomes a reminder that I can alter my thoughts and perceptions.

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