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The Solo Traveler Blog

Reinstate wonder. Touch people’s lives.

Children are a wonder. (Jordan)

Children have their sense of wonder intact. (Jerash, Jordan) “The Wonderful Children of Jordan

Watching a symphony can be more enjoyable if you have a little musical training. Knowing that the bows of the violins are not all up at the same time just because it looks good – knowing that the bowing structure directly relates to the notes on the page and that someone chose the best of many alternative bowings for that piece – makes the performance a greater pleasure.

Drilling down into such nuance and how it affects beauty feeds a sense of wonder when listening to a live orchestra.

The tempo of a vibrato affects the impact of a note – it’s a nuance in the overall scheme of things. The quality of a parmesan affects the flavor of a risotto. The energy of a smile affects the person who gives and receives it. Tempo, quality, energy – all nuances.

As I travel, I don’t have the knowledge to thoroughly appreciate the nuances in everything I see – the art, buildings, cuisine… I fear that I don’t always experience the sense of wonder these accomplishments deserves. However, there is a technique that can help.

When did the master know to stop polishing this masterpiece. At that last moment, there must be a sense of wonder. Imagining that moment can reinstate it.

When did the master know to stop polishing this masterpiece. At that last moment, there must have been a sense of wonder. Imagining that moment can reinstate it. (Paride e Elena di Vincenzo de’ Rossi in the Grotta del Buontalenti, Florence, Italy.) “One Day in Florence: an itinerary in photos.”

Reinstate wonder!

I have been watching the Netflix series Rectify. It’s a somewhat frustrating series to watch as it’s slow and the main character (Daniel) has a tentative sense of wonder for just about everything after having been in prison for nineteen years. But, there is one scene in which Daniel is at a museum. He meets a woman and expresses his frustration at not feeling the wonder of a piece before them because he looked at a representation of it in books for so many years. The woman replies with a powerful idea.

To experience wonder in a piece of art, try to imagine yourself present at the moment of its completion – when the last note is written in the symphony, when the last word is typed in a novel or the last brush stroke made on a painting. There is a moment of completion that only the creator can determine. When that moment arrives, there has to be a sense of wonder. Placing yourself there causes one to look at the piece in all its parts and its entirety. Is everything done? Is every shadow complete, every surface polished as it should be…

I plan to take this technique with me on my travels. It gives me an avenue into new worlds of wonder.

Dave Earl, blues Fisherman's Wharf

Dave Earl, blues singer at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Franscisco, delivers his art with passion to all those who will stop and allow their sense of wonder to kick in. I think the blues may be compared to a Cubano sandwich – one taste and you’ll love it. “An Invitation Across the Nation

Touch people’s lives.

I also recently saw the film Chef and was, again, given a line that made me think – though, in this case, it was simply a prompt to give new consideration to an old concern.

Talented yet frustrated by the limitations of working for someone else, our Chef, Carl Casper, turns to owning a food truck and making Cubanos sandwiches. He takes great care with each ingredient’s selection and preparation and then puts them together in a Cubano that makes his customers knees buckle. He works with a passion and, as he says: “I manage to touch people’s lives with what I do.”

Living a life of passion and touching other people’s lives is an honorable quest – in life and in travel. And while I know that as we travel we can’t always connect with locals in significant ways, we can in small (sandwich-like) ways. Through a smile that shares good energy, a tip of true thanks, a courtesy that surprises the recipient… and by sharing our joy and wonder at a statue in a park or a busker on the street.

Tap into what is truly wonderful around you.

Allow your sense of wonder free.

Share and touch people’s lives.



The wonder of life is expressed in this post: “Giving Space to Life: of cockroaches and travelers.”

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  • Janice Waugh

    There have been attempts at sites like these but I don’t know of any that have been successful and gathered a community large enough to really work. Personally, I like to go and meet people along the way. That way I can travel with them as long as I want and not have any commitment. There’s nothing like really meeting someone to know if you want to travel with them. In Patagonia I met lots of people on the Navimag ferry and ended up traveling with Noemie. Search Patagonia on this blog to learn more about our meeting and how I did Patagonia which is a bit of a challenge to plan from a distance. Have fun! Janice

  • Helen

    I too am looking for such a forum
    I am interested in going to Patagonia this next few months- Nov.-March.

  • Sandy

    Is there a blog where solo travelers can connect while traveling?

  • leelaurino

    On solo travel makes me wonder if the people i meet on trips, who leave a lasting impression EVER remember the ‘one’ stranger that stopped and shared a few moments with them?

  • SammyVThompson

    Living a life of passion and touching other people’s lives is an honorable quest – in life and in travel. And while I know that as we travel we can’t always connect with locals in significant ways, we can in small (sandwich-like) ways

About Janice Waugh and Tracey Nesbitt

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 8.52.44 PMI'm an author, blogger, speaker and traveler. I became a widow and empty-nester at about the same time. And then, I became Solo Traveler... Here's the full story. >>
Tracey NesbittI’m a writer, editor, food and wine fanatic, and traveler. On my very first trip abroad I learned that solo travel was for me. Here's the full story. >>

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