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The Solo Traveler Blog

The movie “Her” and a Life Question Solo Travel Helps Answer

Hiking the fells of the Lake District was the first solo trip on which I realized that I am more than who I was brought up to be. Hiking was not part of my life until then.

Hiking the fells of the Lake District was the first solo trip on which I realized that I am more than who I was brought up to be. Hiking was not part of my life until then.

On my flight home from Indonesia – actually on the third flight of my trip home from Indonesia – I finally watched the movie “Her”.

If you haven’t seen it, the premise is that lonely guy Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix) buys a new artificial intelligence operating system which is named Samantha. The system quickly becomes his friend and lover and gains the chacteristics and emotions of a real person. But it gets complicated – for Theodore and for Samantha.

The real problem for Samantha is that she isn’t sure whether the feelings she has are real or simply good programming. The film is an interesting, low-key sci-fi on what it means to be human.

Stick with me here.

This is about solo travel.

Walking through the parking lot, even before entering the Chautauqua gate, I was so excited about being there. Looking at the license plates of people all over North America confirmed that I was in for an exciting week of learning from the program and sharing with the diverse community there.

Walking through the parking lot, even before entering the Chautauqua gate, I was so excited about being there. Looking at the license plates of people all over North America confirmed that I was in for an exciting week of learning from the program and sharing with the community there. I felt like I had found a natural summer home – natural to me but not quite natural to who I was raised to be. I’m teaching a course on social media there this summer from July 7th – 10th.

Solo travel and time to be real – or somewhat.

“Are these feelings real or are they just programming?”

This is Samantha’s exact question in the film. Do we not all wonder such things on occasion?

Do we not wonder whether we really love this or that or whether it’s just that we’re supposed to. Do we not wonder whether we are doing what we really want or whether we’re doing the bidding of dozens of people through thousands of small acts of direction we’ve received throughout our life?

It’s a bit of that nurture/nature question. Is this me or the me that I’ve been nurtured (or, for Samantha, programmed) to be?

Solo travel is a rare opportunity to (somewhat) disentangle yourself from the influences and expectations of your everyday life. It’s an opportunity to follow your own rhythm and interests. To sit quietly and discover whether your feelings for a piece of art, a hike, music, a destination, an experience of any kind, are real. To discover (as I’ve said before), who you are when no one is looking.

I thought all this when I heard “Are these feelings real or are they just programming?” in the movie “Her”.

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  • Carolyn Steele

    Under the Tuscan Sun was another awesome solo travel movie – although the protagonist lands up buying a house and staying, so maybe it doesn’t count. Although that does open up another aspect of solo travel
    – the possibility that what you discover is exactly what you could never find where you started from.

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    :) Solo travel certainly has therapeutic value.

    j

  • https://www.dare-to-go.com Wendy Greene

    Interesting take on the movie. I have to confess, I didn’t watch it right to the end, but I can see what you’re saying. Solo travel provides us with that rare opportunity to be alone, to do what we want to do, see what we want to see and all on our own timeline. It can bring us back to who we are (as opposed to who we may be programmed to be), and help us re-connect to our true selves. Better than therapy!

  • Cindy Van Vreede

    I’m not sure where I get my wanderlust. My family never traveled when I was young and none of my siblings have hit the road as much as me. In my case it wasn’t nurtured. So maybe it was programming.

  • Allie

    What a striking question! I also recently saw “Her”, and was moved by the deep questions presented within such an interesting story.

    At this point in my life, I find that question to be very relevant. I have always dreamed of traveling solo, but I have been held back by the fears and expectations of my parents. I am going to be taking a big trip very soon (South Korea for 4 weeks, to visit my English-teacher friend), and this will be the first time in five years that I’ve had any extended time away from home. I hope that this trip will help me gain confidence and plan future trips that are completely solo!

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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