One thing I noticed while traveling . . . it’s a couples’ world out there, with many older folks (like me) fulfilling their bucket lists. Viewing all those hand-holding couples has only strengthened my enjoyment of the solo experience.
I engage more with my surroundings, rather than with a partner, when I travel alone and I make new friends. Traveling solo leaves me more vulnerable and thus more open to adventure. I’m forced beyond my comfort zone and it’s this discomfort that can bring insight and personal growth.
That said, I know some wonderful couples, and my Berlin adventure involved me hanging out with a such a pair.
As to the aging part, there are definitely times when I’m aware of my age but, aside from some aching bones, it’s not so bad—just a question of pacing. One thing aging has taught me—it’s all about the journey not the destination.
While in Germany, I focused on two places. Berlin (pop. 3.5 million) was crazy busy, brimming with people, bikes, public transit, cars, and, of course, history—a city under construction and thriving. How it all works, baffles me, but it does.
Büsum, (pop. 5 thousand), on the other hand, invigorated in a windy, North Sea, sheep-ish sort of way. So peaceful, some might consider it boring. It's the kind of place a harried Berliner might go on vacation.
Germans have shouldered a large portion of the cost of refugee migration through high personal taxes and I heard their resentment about this over and over. Also, while I met some rude people . . . certain stressed out bus drivers and train employees come to mind . . . I met some extremely nice people—of all colours, creeds and nationalities.
When you’re traveling and in a lot of public spaces—feeling a tad vulnerable— a little niceness goes a long way.