Alone? Yes

Before I start elaborating on the title, let me briefly introduce myself… it is a copy paste of what I wrote in the “About me” on my profile, but just in case it’s not very convenient to go back and forth with the links…


Hey hey! I’m Arina, 28 years old, my hometown/country is Chisinau, Moldova. For this academic year I’m in Zurich (Switzerland), I’m a visiting scholar at the University of Zurich… but so far the plan is to be back home at the beginning of July. Before, some 10 years ago, I was a high school exchange student in the USA (Michigan state). And not so long ago I did my Master’s degree in Bologna (Italy). Study-wise, I’m in the field of Management and Economics, but independently specializing in music industry.

And work-wise… a great part of my experience is connected to music industry. I worked for 4 years with the Moldovan music band “Zdob si Zdub”. Not continuously, some of that time was during my Bachelor studies in Moldova, then I returned to the band after my Master. This was a very rewarding and fun experience, with twice going to Eurovision Song Contest, releasing albums, participating at festivals…

In my early adulthood, some friends and I formed a youth NGO. The friends elected me as the leader of it. This was a great practical school. We did it mostly voluntarily and based on time availability, but we managed to run several projects that involved fairly many people.

As for hobbies… listening to a lot of music, always keeping an eye on the new one; travelling - but except my USA experience, so far I’ve visited only Europe; hiking…or better let me say - walking :slight_smile: …enjoy the performing arts, I mean attending theater plays, dance performances and of course concerts of all kinds of music; I like taking pictures :)) but here is the link to my ‘journal’ it’s mostly about my hobbies :slight_smile:


I do a lot of the free time activities alone. Now I’m trying to remember where, when, and why this “habbit” started… (some time thinking here) and I’ll say - in the USA, 10 years ago, because it was a new place for me.

Until 18 years old I spent all of my time in Moldova, except a few holidays in Romania and Ukraine, together with my family or friends. There was basically a group of people that I grew up with, we were doing many things together, I felt always active and full of energy. When I was 16-17 years old, I participated in a contest - the final result of it was - a few high school students were selected to go for a year in the USA, to live in a host family, to study in an American high school, and receive a small scholarship for own expenses. This was an yearly contest and it was pretty popular… I participated because ‘I should, many are doing it’, it was a good excuse to miss some classes :slight_smile: …and because “what if?” :slight_smile:

There were several stages to go through, every time less and less people, but I still didn’t feel like - I might be one of the finalists. So one day i got a phone call with - “Congratulations!” I was - “wow, thank you!” but in the back of my mind - “hm, what should I do? should I accept it? of course i should, this is such a great chance! many wanted it and you got it! but it’s 9 months far away from home…and i never lived far from my parents…and there will be completely totally only new people, what if i don’t like it? i cannot return home until the end of the programme.” i knew i am a very independent person, but still… :slight_smile: my parents encouraged me to go, although i’m sure the heart of my mother was saying “no” :slight_smile:

and it was a wonderful year and that experience influenced me a lot… my host family was very cool, the school was very good, I met some of the best teachers ever and some great other students… but still there wasn’t the feeling of belonging to a group, like I had at home. And I was finding myself doing some activities on my own.

I was attending some school clubs in arts and sometimes I was staying alone beyond the club hours… well, generally painting is not really a group activity :slight_smile: then another thing, maybe the most important one in this matter - in the USA most people drive, but I liked and still like to walk. It took me one hour from school to home and I was totally fine with it. I got a walkman in the USA and it was great listening to some music and walking. In Moldova, one of my best friends and I lived in the same apartment building and we studied in the same class… so every day we did the walking together (but that walk was only 15-20 min on way). In the USA I lived in a small town and walking along the road was ok, lots of nature, nice houses… but it was funny that many people were stopping their car and were asking me - are you alright? do you need a ride?

also, there I got my first camera and i started to attend a photography class at a Community Center. thus another activity in my life - walking around and taking pictures of nature. and I took a Computer Graphics class in school and I discovered another enjoyment -  own photo manipulation in PhotoShop.

And really, never thought of it before, but namely these activities helped me to be more comfortable with being alone… and not depend on others.

hm, my story is becoming very long…

when I returned home, my friends and I had another high school year to go… and afterwards we went to different universities. Although physically not far from each other, we had different schedules, new colleagues. Anyway we were meeting frequently, we were also running the NGO together. And of course adulthood means building your own path…

After the US experience, I really wanted to do my Bachelor’s at home… but in the same time that experience opened some other new interestes for me, that would involve going abroad - for travelling and for live concerts. I attended many local live concerts before going to the USA, but I never let myself think that I could attend a superstar’s concert. And in the USA those superstars seemed so close, they had concerts not far from where I lived, but no one that I knew was interested. There I couldn’t go alone… instead I told myself that “next time” I will go alone, somehow. The artists that i like still don’t perform in Moldova… but they do in Romania. So in 2006 I went on my own to Bucharest, to see Depeche Mode. It’s a one night bus drive from Chisinau to Bucharest… another night - back.

The concert was fabulous and I told myself “I want more”. That time I stayed at a guy’s place and I didn’t personally know him, I met him via an online forum. During the concert I got acquainted with some people sitting next to me, they also gave me a ride after the concert. It was such a great experience, all together. But many people at home were thinking I’m a bit crazy to do this…alone.

Then this activity became more frequent… I started to know more people here and there. Then I went to Bologna for 2 years, for my Master’s. Now I’m in Zurich.

I’ll try to sum up :slight_smile:

I travelled alone to Belgium and The Netherlands. But it’s partially alone, because there I’ve stayed at the place of some people that I knew, except attending Werchter Festival (2008). Well, the whole 3 weeks trip was organized due to the festival :slight_smile: I went there with my tent, my sleeping bag and enjoyed it for 4 days. I was alone, but met some great people on the way or on spot.

I’ve been alone to numerous concerts of various magnitute… at some point I also joined and sometimes I was travelling to a new place and meeting up with locals that were also attending the concert/festival (and staying at their place).

Alone I wandered through Barcelona, Copenhagen and the surroundings, Paris, some places in Italy, Switzerland, Romania, Germany. At the end of May I’m going to Berlin, alone. Anyone from Berlin? :slight_smile:

Of course, there are people that go to places much further and less organized… but this is not to compare with somebody. I just wanted to say, although it took me so many words, that certain life experiences taught me to freely do something social on my own. Of course it is nice going to a theater play with somebody that is also interested… but if there is no one like this around, why should I deprive myself from the pleasure of attending a theater play? Maybe at that event I’ll meet someone with whom I’ll enjoy another event. And it happened so several times. I got the surprised “Alone?” for so many times… but I’m not ashamed to say a firm “Yes” and also show surprise that they are surprised.

p.s.: I’ll post it now, 1:30 am… sorry, no editing was done :slight_smile:


Agreed. Alone is not lonely. That’s two things. And a group does not necessarily mean community. That’s two things again.

Alone is a physical state…and lonely - a feeling. And I would lie if I say I never felt lonely when doing something alone :slight_smile: but the idea is - what can I do? if my friends, acquaintances are not interested in the same things, do not have the same time availability, are not in the same place I am etc.

and the answer was - do the thing alone and be open to new acquaintances. but anyway…during concerts, I feel so absorbed in the music and in the community effect, that the slight feeling of loneliness disappears.

or when travelling - I get very excited about the new place and enjoy it very much going around and taking pictures, even if in the back of the mind there is - oh, i wish i could share this experience with someone.

on the other hand - it’s better to do something alone than with somebody whose company you don’t enjoy…and they don’t enjoy yours :))

unfortunately I met people that maybe were in the same situation as me…but they “preferred” staying at home and feel miserable.

Edgeryders together

Hi Arina, I read your story in a breath. It was like reading one of my best friends, she’s also fan of doing things alone, not afraid of strangers or the dark, walking a lot.

There are some people here at Edgeryders also very found of music, you should get in touch with Missyk8, she’s doing creative mixes and she’s really appreciative of lesser known artists.

Zdob si Zdub, wow! They’re great, the most famous Moldovan band here in Romania. What exactly did you do working for them?

Hey! Thanks! :slight_smile: Is your friend joining the conference?

I will certainly get in touch with Missyk8 and others. I’m still at the beginning of my activity here… hopefully soon I’ll know more people :slight_smile:

about Zdob si Zdub - indeed, they are very good, I also like their music and their live performances :slight_smile: I was part of the management team. There was some office work and much of public relations, internal and external communication.

I like that too

I have never been to Moldova, but if you are from a gregarious culture (and Italy is nothing if not gregarious) ultimately moving in flocks becomes exhausting, and your choice is pretty clear: either you go with the flow, and go where the others go, or you go it alone. The option of moving others where you want to go is simply too energy-consuming. And if you have unusual tastes, of course you are going to have to do many things alone.

I also lived alone, for many years. Frankly, it was great. Now I live with my wife, but it is fair to say we did not decide to live together out of loneliness, but because we enjoy being together so much.

That’s funny, I am a former musician and a lecturer at this master’s course on the music business, based in Rome. La Sapienza has easily the best course in Italy for the stuff you are interested in - the trouble is, not much music business left to go around.

You perfectly put it into words!

Generally speaking I can be considered an avid cultural consumer, with somehow unusual and various tastes. And I think it would be even unfair to ask a loved one to enjoy the same things/activities, with the same frequency.

The master course looks great! In Bologna I studied pure economics, but I also attended several courses from another master programme, Innovation and Organization of Culture and the Arts. And my master thesis was very much related to music industry. As concerns “not much music business left to go around”, I think it is just changing. Music will always be needed and will always exist. And so will people that bring together the musicians and the listeners.

I wish you and your wife the best!

Hi Arina!

I really like to

Hi Arina!

I really like to spent time alone too: I enjoy walking through the city, going to museums, doing shopping and other things with no other people than myself (and the crowd, off course!)

I also really like the idea of travelling alone, but I’ve never done it because being a woman I fear the feeling of “not being safe”. Even if I know that I’m a wise person and I would not put myself in “dangerous” situations, I still perceive my sex as a possible source of threat for myself.

As you are a woman too, have you ever had similar feelings? Do you feel safe when you are totally alone in a foreing country?

Hi Ginevra!

Here I have to

Hi Ginevra!

Here I have to say that I also use couchsurfing sometimes and I have stayed at the place of people that I didn’t know before, including men. But here, too, I wisely look at the couchsurfing profile of people.

Beside couchsurfing, I stayed in hostels, in mixed dorms.

When I went to the USA, more than 10 years ago, I was alone…I was going to live in a family that I had never seen before. It is a decision that I took (encouraged by my parents), a risk that you assume…but also there are the expected benefits. And if you give more weight to the benefits than to the risks…you go for it.

I almost always have similar feelings, but I try to put them in the back of my mind and then they gradually disappear. I thought that if i fear everything, I end up doing nothing. I teach myself that the default situation is “people are good” and I hope that exceptions won’t happen. Yep, I guess it’s more about educated a positive thinking together with trying not to put myself in dangerous situations (as you said). Although I’ve done things that I know that I would not like my potential daughter to do, like going to certain concerts/gigs were people almost lose control.

and it’s also a bit of belief in faith…in the sense that - if there is something bad to happen to a person, it can happen anywhere.

and it also depends on the country… for example in Switzerland i feel more safe than in my homecountry, Moldova. but in the same time I do not exclude the idea of potential bad exceptions and thus I hope they will not happen. There are countries that unfortunately I would prefer not to go alone.

Hello Arina,

welcome to

Hello Arina,

welcome to Edgeryders, first of all! And what an interesting story!

I think that everybody feels sometimes the need of being alone, seeing things around them without any intervals and find themselves. I like spending time alone doing things I love (going for a walk for example…) and being alone never stopped me of doing what I want. I am not the type of person who always needs to depend on somebody and actually I m quite frustrated of people who are like that. If i want to go out i ll go, even alone, if i want to eat out i ll do it, even alone etc… But there is something that differentiates us I can’t being alone for long periods (e.g going for a leisure trip alone) and the reason is I feel quite boring when at some point I don’t have someone to interact with…

Some months ago I met a guy who is organizing every summer a “find yourself” trip somewhere in a Swedish landascape. You go all together you have talks and supports and then for three days you are left in the wild with nobody around you. Just you and the nature (no mobile phones, no books, sometimes no food etc). And then coming back together with the team to bring back experiences! He does that for the last 5 years, which for me was crazy… Ok I can get to stay alone but this is about the complete isolation. And this is something I would like to have the power to do it but I think not yet…

Anyway, I think it is just different perceptions of lifestyle…

According to your music interest, I would strongly suggest you to get in touch with Jasmine who does art videos for sharing!

Ciao xx

Hi Luna! Thank you for the welcome and message!

I think I would be able to stay three days in isolation, but not without food and water :slight_smile: I would end up sleeping a lot, for sure.

As for the leisure trips… for me they have always been as travelling, for not too lonf periods, 3-5 days . And I was going alone, without people I know, but I met new people on spot.

And surely I had the feeling of - oh, this is such a beautiful scenery, I wish there was someone here to enjoy it with me (and someone could be anyone, from family, friends, loved one or a random person). But luckily there are cameras and social networks :)) afterwards one can share it with the whole world, although of course it’s not the same. But I prefer this situation to not doing anything. Cause in some societies/cultures, as Alberto said “I have never been to Moldova, but if you are from a gregarious culture (and Italy is nothing if not gregarious) ultimately moving in flocks becomes exhausting, and your choice is pretty clear: either you go with the flow, and go where the others go, or you go it alone. The option of moving others where you want to go is simply too energy-consuming. And if you have unusual tastes, of course you are going to have to do many things alone.”

And it’s not only about the tastes… it’s the geographical distance, the time availability, financial resources, priorities etc.

I’m going to Berlin at the end of May (May 31 - June 5), alone :slight_smile: Thus, if there is any Edgeryder from Berlin, will be my pleasure to meet him/hem before the conference :smiley:

and also thank you for suggesting me to get in touch with Jasmine. I watched her video and surfed her website, indeed she is doing some very cool things. it is really great that this community, Edgeryders, brings together people with various interestes and activities.