Sunday, April 18, 2010

Travel Titbits

Back to what I do best, talk about traveling. However, rather than talking about how wonderful my last few trips were, and making many jealous, I will try to talk about how my outlook and preferences have evolved over the years.

Let us start by a uttering a simple word, which often prompts strong opinions from people I know. Greyhound. Well, not the dog (that would indeed result in a strong reaction from me, I am mortally afraid of dogs, any shape, size or color), but the inter city bus service in US. I know people who are terribly afraid of riding without even having been to the bus station, and then people who traveled cross country with it. My personal experience is mixed. They often do not have the best routes or timings, and mostly the bus stations are not in the best part of the town, but they actually run on time, and I never felt they are unsafe. A disproportionately high number of colored people causes some concern for some people, but that is a result of the socio-economic condition, and the the fear is more racial myopia then anything else. So verdict? I probably would not use Greyhound, but that is because driving gives me more freedom. But if someone is not driving, Greyhound is an excellent option, and cheap too.

I did ride Greyhound, and slept in Greyhound stations, when I could not drive. Not that I particularly enjoyed that, but money was the strong constraint there. It still is, however I have actually become more particular about my itineraries now. I never liked early morning flights, but now I actively try to avoid them. I would drive a a couple of hours to the next big city to get a cheaper flight, now I mostly would pay a little more but fly from Dresden, rather than Berlin. I can survive using a shared restroom in a backpackers hostel, but a room with a private shower is probably what I would end up booking. I am spending the money I do not have, but when you travel so much, these little comforts add up to feel you less jaded.

More so, when I travel solo. Sometimes it is by choice, sometimes not. Academic travels are by definition solo, but then there are trips I just make. Many people find it weird, or maybe downright scary, that one can go to a nice place alone, and enjoy, but it is not as awkward as it sounds. There are of course fancy restaurants and operas probably one would not want go by themselves, but walking around a city, hiking to an old castle, or even exploring a museum can be done alone quite efficiently. And at times, that gives me complete freedom to plan (which I love doing!), without worrying about what others may or may not like. Often I have got stuck with incompatible traveler companions, and I would much rather go solo.


"Trotternama" said...

I always thought travelling alone was a kind of forced punishment until I visited vienna. It was strangely a boost to my sense of direction, communication and stamina. I have emerged more confident.

dipthought said...

I am glad you enjoyed :)

tuktuki said...

Sounds like a topic for debating. After all, ol'abits die hard...right :)

Anonymous said...

thanks amigo! great post!