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”.

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    Thanks for your thoughts Shelly. I especially love your feeling of being unique. I feel this too but I don’t think I identified it as such until you wrote it. This is the value of reader comments. Again, thanks so much.

    j

  • Shelly Freitas Arnerich Morgan

    I am reading this while I am one week into a solo travel trip to Florence and Tuscany. I thought about the question you posed which led me to liken it to “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” I am a strong independent woman but, cannot quite determine if I solo travel because I am that strong woman or, if I continue to solo travel because it has made me stronger. I think it is the latter.

    Case in point : all three tours I took last week were filled couples or people traveling with others. I was the only person who came alone. I think years ago I would have felt uncomfortable. Not only was I not uncomfortable but, I felt unique. I had to ability to move independently and talk to all the couples and not have the constraints of having a partner or companion.

    I think I was a little surprised to find out I was the only solo traveler on these local guided tours. I know lots and lots of single people. Does the fear of solo travel keep them from traveling? I hope not. The things we most regret.. are things we wanted to do … but, for whatever reason didn’t do them!

  • 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!