Taiwan - Going Solo



The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship in your life. But time alone can also be overwhelming when you are dealing with fears hidden deep inside yourself.


Author Robert Pirsing talked in one of his novels of an old indian way of catching a monkey: You drop a handful of rice into a hollowed-out coconut. The monkey will reach in, grab the rice, and then find that he can not get his fist back out through the hole. If the monkey would just let go of the rice, he could escape. But he will not. 


Letting go sounds easy. It is as simple as that: you let go. But when it comes to letting go of fears, worries, inhibitions or habits, it can feel as impossible as releasing the handful of rice. Any yet, I came about as close as I probably ever have, on a solo trip to Taiwan.



In today’s world, busy is a state of being. We value our lives run on six hours sleep, coffee in hand, eating on the move, answering emails as we walk. We fool ourselves into thinking busy-ness makes us important, influential, successful. But the truth is, there is a direct correlation with busy-ness and unhappines – the busier you are, the more harried you feel, and the less you are able to appreciate genuine downtime. 


In part, thats why spending time alone has lost out. It does not feel productive enough when there so many other things we could be doing – if not work, spending time with our families; if not famliy, spending time indulging in the infinite possibilities a simple internet connection brings. We plug in headphones when we run, switch on the radio when we drive, drag our laptops into bed, even flick through instagram in the bath (guilty). Solitude has become a negative concept – a sign of melancholy (someone eating alone in a nice restaurant, for instance, will likely inspire pity).


And yet, the benefits of introspection and self-reflection have been recommended by psychologists, philosophers and artists for centuries. With the perspective gained from alone-time, our self-awareness grows, as does the strength and meaning of our relationships. Problems become more manageable. Creativity flourishes. We relax. As psychologist said „A person who can find a rich self-experience in a solitary state is far less likley to feel lonely when alone“. 

For these reasons, I decided to spend some days on my own.


„You are a very emotional sensitive person – worry to much, you keep my emotions to close.“ Thats what my trainer told me on our first lesson and he said “You need to work on detachment.” 

Detachment is the process of becoming happy with who you are, irrespective of what you-ve got. Attachment is a trap we all fall into; imagining we will be happy when we have more money in the bank, or when we are 10 pounds lighter. We naturally put stock in the external world, but in doing so we open ourselves up to the possibilities that whatever brings us happines can be lost, and therefore has the potential to cause pain. The only way out of this dilemma is by releasing our attachment to the outcome – in other words, to let go.





I got the question and the answer in one phrase “Are you thinking of something that worries you? Good. Now smile at it.” I opened my eyes and laughed, awkwardly, until i realised that my trainer was serious. I closed my eyes again and tried. It felt worng and weird, siling with my eyes closed. He add “This thing that worries you- of course it makes you feel sad and stressed, it is natural. But you can not control it and your worries will not make it better, so smile.” 

We sat for five minutes, 2 strangers, eyes closed, concentration lines on our foreheads. When I opened my eyses, I felt tears picking at the corners. He said “That is good. Your are letting go.”


 Spending time in nature can heal. Undo a hectic lifestyle. Coming here I am already withdrawing. Here you can take further step back, into nature, and really concentrate on being intropective.


Detachment is much harder than attachment. No one enjoys being introspective at first , but the more you practice letting go, the more enjoyable it will become.



After time I started to feel a little different. Small changes – it started off with a full night of rest, without waking once. My lover back did not ache and I did not crave for coffee in the morning. I felt energised in the afternoon, insead of the usual lethargy. 


For the first time in a long time I was not self-conscious about the way I looked or what i wore. I went to dinner without my iPhone and I was not bored. I felt optimistic, my life, my future. I feld happy being on my own, which is the last thing I was expecting.


I do not think i mastered the art of detachment. I will probably always worry about things I can not control, just as I know I will never be OK with some stuff. But in a way, I am fine with that. Because I learnt something more meaningful to me; that every once in awhile, it is possible to let go – eyes closed, and with a smile. 



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Here is Tom. Just a creative, food loving, traveling guy from Frankfurt. Lets rock the world.