People who say they love travel mean some really different things.
I have been on some adventures! I have been to Argentina, Mexico, Sweden, Belgium, Scotland, and India alone, and I have toured the Middle East, entertaining the troops as a standup comedian.
Or maybe you do not think these are adventures, considering how much of these trips was spent finding the best cappuccino in town and shopping for blazers (see
But an adventure is not a vacation. After an adventure, you sometimes need a vacation. Also, as an introvert, I want to spend at least five hours a day alone, every day (reading in a cafe counts). And I want to come back a better, healthier, smarter, more clear-headed person than I was when I left. I can’t do that if I’m constantly sightseeing, with friends, taking extreme sports lessons, being led up a mountain by a sherpa, or god forbid, on a guided tour.
I went to India and didn’t see the Taj Mahal. It’s full of tourists, it’s an hours-long train ride away from anything, and I don’t find it enjoyable to 1) be thought of as a tourist, and 2) constantly have to fend off the aggressive advances of vendors.
When you travel alone, look somewhat professional, and have a couple of books with you, people are much less likely to read you as a tourist. While a dirty-haired American couple with giant backpacks is immediately read in this way, local people in Belgium, India and elsewhere have asked if I’m “in town for work.” Sometimes they ask, “Teacher?” People always try to tell you it’s so dangerous to be a woman alone, and sometimes it is, but I think the backpacking couple blundering through town taking pictures is much more likely to be robbed than the itinerant teacher.