Traveling alone has a long list of advantages! The best advantage is that you can set your own agenda, meaning no compromises, no arguments, no debate, no negative vibes from others. You can be spontaneous without accounting for anyone else’s feelings. You never have to feel pressured to do something you don’t want to do. On the contrary, you can go wherever you want, whenever you want, and with whomever you want. Even more so since I don’t have flights tickets booked in advance. Basically, you can travel in your own terms!
But solo travel has also its downs. Solo travel means also that you’re always making all the decisions yourself. You have no one to share your thoughts, to talk about your plans, to have a second opinion or to help you figuring out things. It’s just you talking to yourself (not a great debate by the way 😉 ).
And truth is, when you are traveling, there are so many things to thing about, so many things to decide, so many unanswered questions going through my head on a daily basis (“Where is the bus station? Which bus company should I choose? Is it worth spending 3 or 5 days in Bariloche? Should I take a cab or the local bus? Is it safe? Should I go further South or North? Where is located the hostel? What should be my next city? Which itinerary is the best? What? where? when?….”) that I sometimes wished I had someone besides me, telling me what to do.
And that was my precise state of mind in El Calafate, Argentina. I was hurt, and I knew I needed a place to stay for a couple of days, to rest my ankle. But I didn’t know what was the best option: taking a flight to Santiago (Chile), returning by bus to Puerto Natales and from there take a boat that navigates through the Chilean fjords, take a bus back to Buenos Aires or take a bus up North of Argentina?!? There were just too many options!! And, I couldn’t decide what I should do… until I read about all my options in the Lonely Planet, gathered info on the prices for each option and then slept on it.
Final decision: the plan was to go by bus to San Carlos de Bariloche, usually known as Bariloche, the lake district and the city of chocolate! I could already see myself laying down on the sofa, reading a good book and eating chocolate all day long. Besides, hasn’t it been proved scientifically that chocolate has multiple health benefits?!? Among them, curing a bad twisted ankle… I believe so… 😉
So, here I was trying to survive to this thirty six(ish) 36 hours long bus ride when I met the two sweetest Japanese girls, Chigusa and Erika. They didn’t speak much English, but somehow we understood each other. And boy, did we laugh together (about the food, the movies, the bus driver, our traveling experiences,…) !! They were traveling together around South America for a couple of months.
They couldn’t believe that I was traveling all alone… so they gave me a present that should protect me from bad people! It was a small stuffed doll, hand-made by their grandmother with threads from old clothes ! They insisted that I attached the doll to my small bag, so that it will keep me safe during my journey! So sweet and thoughtful!!!
Ugh…. Why again didn’t I go to Japan??? [One more unanswered question going through my head].