The difference between traveling with others and traveling solo comes down to one simple difference. When traveling with others, you speak, plan, shop, eat, etc. with the other(s). When solo, you are open to others.
At O´¨Hare, I bought Garrett´s cheese popcorn and settled into my wait. It took about 4 minutes before a man sat down two seats from me to ask if he could have some popcorn. Of course, I shared.
About 2 minutes later he asked if I was "available" as his visa was expiring. After I told him I was unavailable, he asked if I knew any single women. I convinced him my girls were too young (15 & 13) and my grandmother was too old (100). We chatted about traveling for about an hour and then I said how nice it was meeting him and continued with my agenda.
At JFK in NY, I shared a birthday shot with an engineer with a wetsuit in his backpack and carrying a skateboard who was off to kite board in SanDiego.
Then I met dear Louisa. We looked after each others´ luggage while we checked departure times and ran to the bathroom one last time. We shared book reccommendations and discussions about life transitions. I hope our paths will someday cross again.