I can do this.
I'm doing this.
I kept repeating those lines on the bus ride to Berlin, on the plane, stranded in Kiev Airport, until I finally reached my final destination, Atatürk Airport in Istanbul.
Traveling, solo or with companion is exciting. You wake up early, beating the alarm clock, because that's how excited you are to go out there and see things you haven't seen before.
Sure airports, lay overs, plane ride, crowded train rides, or long overnight bus rides are depressing, but I always crave for that feeling, along with that exhale when you finally got there. The place you been eyeing on Lonely Planet guide, google image and tags on Instagram.
When I finally arrived in Göreme, Cappadocia I couldn't stop smiling. The whole place blew my mind, it was much prettier than those filtered insta pictures in real!
But sights and places are not the only things that makes the trip, often the people, companions matters.
Sometimes I feel like I could just replace familiar faces who I could've shared these experiences with with people I met along the way, and I did. Brisk meetings, deep conversations, laughs, good-byes.
It is so easy to meet people when you travel alone - and this comes from this rather unsocial girl.
This girl at the breakfast table striked up a conversation because I was wearing my Twin Peaks shirt. We talked and talked and found out she's a vegetarian too. And it t's such a great feeling to bond with people with similarities.
The two aussie girls I met at the dorm room are both 19 and traveling Europe to figure out what they want to do next (I'm secretly jealous I didn't have the chance to do the same when I was younger), the one girl, Molly and I also shared similar taste of music and I ended up introducing her to few of my favorite bands like Beirut and Foxygen.
I met Adam one morning also at the breakfast table. He was doing something with a alumunium cylinder tube thing, so I asked him what he's doing, and he answered with still a bed voice, "making my own coffee," - what a hipsterscum, I thought. Seriously this bearded dude would go to the lounge every morning, grinding his own coffee beans, put it in a filter tube and basically making his own coffee when there's obviously coffee served on the table. Ok, I was conflicting with myself to either think it's either cool or snotty kind of behaviour he was engaging.
But yeah, turned out Adam is a barista who spent a year in Denmark and now traveling en route home. And he actually offered me (!) a cup of his precious coffee. We also went hiking together and unravel our shared love on Sriracha sauce.
One woman, who also joined us hiking, Steph is a journalist and a writer. I had nice deep conversations about so many things with her, from the german language, feminism to hipsters in her hometown in Portland (it can't get more hipster than that). We were in the middle of a conversation when the shuttle picked me up to go to the airport. It was sort of sad. But people always come and go, you lose some you gain some more.
And there was also Gopal, an indian guy from Singapore. One evening, we hung out at the lounge also with the aussie girls and this other guy from London and he was sugar high. It was the most fun I've had in a long time. Such lovely crowds. We played backgammon together, and they basically discovered food delivery service in Göreme that later is praised by other fellow backpackers at the hostel, because the place is basically freezing once the sun goes down and ain't nobody got time to go out to get foods. We also laughed our asses off this immature joke on a turkish bus company named kamil koç, I contributed by making this terrible line that goes, "How do you get there?" "I'm riding kamil koç (read: something inappropriate)". Yep, we are immature.
It was just such lovely time at the hostel, good vibe and cool people. That was the case for Cappadocia. In Istanbul, I was mostly a lone wolf, maybe a lone kitty. It's easy to feel some type of einsamtkeit when you're all alone in a big city, think Scarlet Jo in Lost in Translation. Except that she's 10000x prettier, met Bill Murray and basically still having a fabulous arty time in Tokyo, while me, nodding softly when the waiter asked, "table for one?" and basically just going from one neighborhood to another petting probably half population of cats of Istanbul (and there's tons of cats in Istanbul!), yeah okay, that's actually not so bad.
But along with the high number of cats population, the amount of cat calls I got is also extremely high. Around my time of travel, the video of girl walking for 10 hours in NYC also went viral, which made my anger bubbling even more reading all the dumb, ignorant comments. But that's off-topic.
Summing everything up, like everthing in the world, there's always goods and bads. And in the end,
Most important is that when you travel alone, when often time you would get lost navigating between the small dim-lighted streets, you would eventually find your way back.
While traveling alone, lost, you may lost, but in the end you found yourself.
Because again, yourself is the coolest companion you could ask for.