Walking Alone in a Foreign Place

As unsafe as it sounds, there is something inspiring about wandering around a foreign town (in the daylight) by yourself. Although there are hundreds of tourists much like yourself bustling around you, it emits a peaceful atmosphere. You’re able to zone out on the strangers and focus in on the beautiful architecture or incredible landscapes or calming sound of waves crashing against the shore. When you are able to wander around by yourself, your experience deeply involves the relationship between you and the foreign city that you’re in, and I strongly argue that that experience is essential to enjoying your excursion to the fullest.

I have recently taken a trip to the East Coast of Canada, starting in Charlottetown and making my way over to Toronto. Prior to this, I hadn’t been past Winnipeg, so this was quite exhilarating for me. Although I loved relaxing on the white beaches and swimming in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time, my favourite part of the trip was when my family and I traveled over to Quebec City. We spent the majority of our limited time hiking around Old Quebec and gazing up at buildings that are hundreds of years old; however, I didn’t get to fully experience the city until I broke off from my family for an hour and aimlessly strolled along the cobblestone streets.

I was no longer at the mercy of keeping track of my family or making conversation with them. Although those tasks aren’t particularly strenuous in themselves, they did take attention away from the beauty and intricacy that surrounded me. However, when alone, I could fully embrace the detail that encompassed every building and every piece of artwork. Additionally, I was able to go at my own pace and not worry about what my family wanted to do (a people-pleaser’s constant worry). This small window of introverted time allowed me to view the city through a newer, more peaceful and captivating lens.

Maybe this method of enjoyment is specific to introverts who like to be inside their own head, or maybe it’s just specific to me, but I know that I didn’t fully experience my vacation until I was able to appreciate the architecture, history, and beauty of the city until I spent some time alone with it.

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