How different a place or an experience can be when one is alone. So far, in my travels I have never really been on my own. During the Camino, I was with a friend. In Gran Canaria I was visiting another friend. Even though I wandered off on solitary walks for hours at a time, at the end of the day there was always someone I could share my experiences with. Someone to talk and to listen to. Now, it’s just me and Barcelona. I did not think it would bother me and yet somehow it does. It seems I’ve also become less of a loner in recent years.
I’ll start with the good points first. On the one hand I have total independence. There’s no question as to what are we doing today, there’s no need for a plan, or for any kind of structure imposed by the social need of mutual predictability. If I walk through the gothic quarter and I find a nice spot, like the plaza de Sant Felip Neri, I can just lean on a fountain and sit there for an hour. I can plan to visit a museum the second day and, when I wake up, decide that I want to go to the beach instead. It’s the ultimate sort of freedom.
On the other hand, most people distrust a guy alone. Furthermore, If I get into a conversation and, asked where I’m from, I mention my Eastern European heritage, the instinctive, albeit momentary slight tightening of the eyes can be observed. This is bothering, but, having seen it coming, I can deal with it. The worst thing however, is not being able to share the unique amazing moments I’m living every day. When I find something funny, I laugh on my own. I was walking next to Montjuic castle and, following a seagull gliding towards me, on the blue sky, still bright at 9.30 in the evening, intersecting with a plane heading in the opposite direction, directly above my head, I found myself trying to excitedly point out the coincidence to a non-existent friend. For miles in front of me and behind, I was alone. I could not stand it today. After a few suggestions from different sources, I went to a couch surfing event. I met some really nice people. Had my fill of socializing. I may actually go to another one soon.