I quite enjoy opportunities to travel on my own. The ability to go where I want when I want, without considering others. To be able to stop when I want. To have only my thoughts echoing in my mind and no other voices (though that it is sometimes also a pain). Of course there is also a heightened sense of alertness when I wander on my own. Of having to figure out things on my own with no one else to bounce ideas off. Freedom vs. security I guess, like so many other tradeoffs (for e.g. in Singapore).
When I travel, I spend my time wandering streets somewhat aimlessly, going where my feet takes me, following the crowds. I look at people on the streets - the vendors, the beggars, the office workers, the kids, the elderly. All these labels for humans. I sometimes wonder what they think, how they feel. I find it hard sometimes, as a tourist, to walk the streets. Knowing that I at least had the money to travel halfway across the world, money to find a place to stay and food to eat, money to spend on attractions and travelling more. And seeing some people living on the streets and knowing they have barely a fraction of that. Yet I cannot be giving money to everyone - it is not mine to give anyway, being financially still dependent on my parents (and I've written about this but in the Cambridge context before). And so I don't know what to do, what I can do, beyond just thinking about that and saying a little prayer for each one as I walk past, on my way to some other tourist attraction, where they'll soon be put out of my mind.
I gave some money to this guy who boarded our local bus yesterday, held up a photograph of him and his mum, and gave a spell about his mum who is ill and needs money for treatment (it was all in very rapid Chilean Spanish but I got the rough gist of it). He looked around the bus after his speech and looked into everyone's eyes, and most people avert. As we do when we walk past people on the streets. My friends whom I was with at that point think me a fool, cos how do you know it's not a scam (there are so many scams out there, of syndicates and drugged children and slavery to beg on the streets, or just people who could work but rather not.) But I think I need to keep giving people the benefit of the doubt and believe and have faith in humanity.
In any case, I'll soon be travelling with constant companionship for a few months anyway, and being in as isolated a place as we will be, there'll be little chance for meeting people in such situations.