“Traveling with a companion, with a wife, with a girlfriend, always seems to me like birds in a glass dome, those Victorian glass things with stuffed birds inside. You are too much of a self-contained world for the rest of the world to be able to penetrate. You’ve got to go kind of naked into the world and make yourself vulnerable to it, in a way that you’re never going to be sufficiently vulnerable if you’re traveling with your nearest and dearest on your arm. You’re never going to see anything; you’re never going to meet anybody; you’re never going to hear anything. Nothing is going to happen to you.
“Whereas traveling alone, everything happens. And also traveling alone puts you in this position where you will do almost anything to make contact with other people. My experience of traveling with somebody else is that you just hang around with them. Half the point of traveling alone is that you get so lonely you need to talk to other people.”
–Jonathan Raban, in Michael Shapiro’s A Sense of Place (2004)