Archive for September, 2015


Why Travel Alone

Because travel alone is often to one’s advantage. There usually is no distraction by travel companions and groups. Local culture can be more appreciated and people can be met easier. In other words: the traveler learns more. Secondly, as a single traveler I can often get much better deals, be it transportation or markets, or anything else I need. I see it again and again when observing tourists talking among themselves, in their own language I might add, being little aware of the local architecture and surrounding. I like to talk to locals. A big help is foreign languages’ knowledge. I learned a lot. I made friends when I traveled, and often stayed in touch after we parted. Immersing yourself in local culture is a rewarding and wonderful experience. Except, today we live in a different world. This type of approach can easily become a hazard to one’s safety. For example, I have spent a couple of months in North Africa, The Maghreb. I speak French, that helps. Today, I would be very careful and recline voyages to certain countries. Russia, Saint Petersburg, one of the most beautiful and culture-rich cities in the world. Possible to go alone. Most Russians are friendly people, most speak at least German. Or as I noticed many years ago when travelling (former) Yugoslavia, in the hotels also French was spoken. In the country, at that time, I had more problems, despite my Serbo-Croatien dictionary, most women on the train I had taken out of Zagreb, did not read. That was then. Today, with so many displaced people around the world, one does not know anymore in which country one is. Including my own home country in Europe. There I am a foreigner, while others like Africans, Balkan, or Middle East, Indians or from anywhere else, are the natives of my former home land. [Verkehrte Welt !]

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This year 2015, it is exactly fifty years ago that I had left my Homeland. In fact, there is no Home- Land, because during WWII it has been completely destroyed. Now rebuilt to certain (more or less historic) standards, some like it – mostly tourists – others know that all rebuilding cannot recover any cities to what they were. Old historic cities dating back to many centuries ago. But more than that, it is not only buildings that make a country, a nation, a homeland, or a town. It is the people. Since WWII, which ended May 1945, not many who survived the war (like I did from start 1939 to end 1945) are still alive today. I was very young during the years of bombings, but still remember. Today’s population in my homeland are so different, mainly because they arrived from many countries to settle down. You could say: “we build it, and they come”.
The rebuilding – mostly in the beginning removing rubble – after 1945 re-started slowly and picking up pace, the first years single handedly done by women. Since there were not many men, they had perished at the Russian Front. The few civilians that were left after the many years of Allied bombings (killing off most of them), had to do the hard work. Now, after forty years in North America, I still do not consider where I am now, my HomeLand. I have no HomeLand.