When I was first bitten by the travel bug and overcome by a strong desire to venture away from L.A., there was one thing that held me back more than anything: it seemed like nobody else could come along.
How could I enjoy traveling if I experienced everything on my own?
Plus, the world is a dangerous place, according to the news. So I had to be with at least one other person.
But it didn’t take too long before I realized that, aside from regular weekends and the occasional longer ones, it would always be quite difficult to arrange travel plans the way I envisioned them, with even just one other single person because:
– People’s schedules hardly ever line up
– Not every potential travel buddy will necessarily will agree with the itinerary I want
I guess the second reason sounds a little selfish, but it illustrates one of the biggest inconveniences – if not the biggest – when it comes to traveling with company: compromising. You have to compromise with others based on their availability, and it’s a give and take when it comes to where to go and what to see once you reach the destination.
I’m not against traveling with company, because there’s really nothing like sharing moments with others. But trips shouldn’t be limited simply because nobody else is available to join the journey.
Traveling alone doesn’t suck if you don’t want it to. Why should we depend on others to make our adventures fun? Why can’t exploring solo be just as memorable as if we were doing so with other people? If anything, traveling alone is something to be proud of.
If I waited for someone or several people before I went to Boston and Chicago last year, I wouldn’t have gone. If I waited for anyone who could take two months off to go across Canada two years ago, that adventure would not have happened.
In a more recent event, if I depended on the availability of others last week when I made a last-minute decision to drive to Las Vegas to visit some friends, I wouldn’t have seen my friends.
It takes about four hours to drive to Vegas from L.A. without traffic, and because I knew I was commuting by myself last week, I prepared by filling up a water bottle, bringing some snacks to munch on, and setting up my Songza on my phone so I’d have some tunes to jam to. (I also had some CDs incase I ended up losing signal.)
In the time it took to make it to Sin City, I went through gloomy morning weather, rain, fog, mountains and sunshine. I got to listen to music, sing as loudly as I wanted, enjoy the view of road ahead, and appreciate the fact I even have the opportunity to drive alone safely in America.
It was actually a pleasant commute.
But some of my friends seemed to feel bad because nobody was with me.
Several years ago, I probably would have felt the same way: sad because I was all by my lonesome self for those hours.
Although I did get to see people I knew in Vegas, I wouldn’t have been alone if I had gone somewhere else where I didn’t know anyone.
The truth is, you won’t be alone if you don’t want to be. You can always choose to put yourself in a situation where you won’t just be with me, myself, and I. For instance, as a 20-something-year-old, I’m a huge fan of hostels because the environment facilitates the opportunity to mingle with other travelers who are just as alone as you are. (In the future, this will unlikely be the case, as I’ll probably not always be so eager to share a room with strangers. But I digress.)
You can also choose to stay at a hotel that has a bar and/or serves continental breakfast so you can bump into other people there.
What about striking up a conversation with your seatmate(s) on the bus, train, or aircraft you’re traveling on to get to wherever you’re going? And how about participating in group tours? There are so many ways to not be alone!
Inevitably, there will be times when you end up only with yourself, and it’s for that reason being able to enjoy those instances is important.
The main point, though, is that just like other desires in life, if travel is something you want bad enough, then doing so solely in your own company shouldn’t and will not deter you from enjoying the destinations you decide to visit if nobody else can join.