There is something to be said for traveling solo, or as my friend B says, “not having to carry her kids crap.” Not having to keep track of multiple people, and their belongings, you know making sure someone doesn’t slip something into your bag when you’re not looking (I had to put that in for all the TSA people out there). How about the lack of “travelers stress”; when you start freaking out because you have five minutes to get to a gate clear across the airport, and your toddler can’t keep up.
My favorite is, not having to argue about what we are doing, where we are eating, and when we will be there.
Of course as a solo traveler, you are on your own time frame as well. If you want to sleep until noon, and eat lunch by the pool, do it. If you want to sit on the beach all day, and then explore at night, do it. Perhaps the best part, is finding that amazing view from the mountaintop. You know the one that looks out over the crystal blue waters of the Balinese sea, lush green forests behind you, vibrantly colored flowers to the left, the smell of salt, and jasmine floating on the light, warm breeze? Yeah that’s the one. It’s here that you can sit for hours, taking it all in, silently reflecting on life or making decisions about your future. Without any companions, there is no need to rush this mental process. There is no need to worry about the other person being bored or making too much noise for you focus on you. There is no inherent curiosity about what the other person is thinking.
Not to forget about the social aspect of traveling solo verses with others. Depending on your personality, the solo traveler is more apt to engage in conversations with strangers around them (see below). In my years of knowing several people who like to travel solo, some of these random conversations at the dive bar in Mexico, have forged life long friendships that reconnect over a beer, at the local watering hole in Jamaica. Whereas travelers who have their spouses and/or kids with them, tend to be absorbed in their immediate goings on, and less likely to spark up a convo with the person at the table next to them.
Of course this is assuming that your solo travels are for pleasure and not business.
While there are many benefits to traveling solo, it can also be a lonely experience. If you are married or have a boy/girlfriend, you miss them. Maybe you don’t miss the relationship responsibilities, but I think everyone misses the companionship that comes with being in love.
For me, when I used to travel with my ex, there was nothing better than being squished into a three-person airplane row, snuggling up to him while he worked on his laptop (he always let me have the window seat). Walking around, holding hands, knowing that someone else was there to laugh with, share food with, take selfies with, enjoy moments like the mountain top with, sleep next to… and maybe “other stuff”, as B says. Of course my asking the question about what she misses about her husband, while traveling without him, prompted her to tell me a story (voice exaggeration and all (which she is famous for)), about this guy that her and her husband saw, during a connecting flight in NY. This guy looked like he had just stepped off of a yacht, and was on the phone talking to “Eduardo” about renovations, and louvers on his house. Now every time they hear the name “Eduardo” she thinks back on this moment, and the laughs her and her husband had over it.
FYI… I’m currently on a plane headed for New Orleans with my friend B. Not wanting to leave the guy sitting next to me out, (yes, I’m squished in the middle), I asked him the same question I asked B. His response was way better than, “and stuff”. He apparently also has three kids, and the worst part of traveling solo (for business) for him, was knowing that he will get to see, and experience things that they will not. Naturally, this makes me think about T, and all of the stuff she will not get to see this week. She is, of course in school, but this trip was also supposed to be for work, before I resigned. No sense in wasting an already paid for trip!
While there is a certain amount of happiness that can be found from traveling solo, I believe there is more happiness to be found in experiences shared with those you love. Like my friend B, later on when you reminisce on your travels, and tell the funny story about the guy from the yacht, your travel partner can lend credibility and content, to make the story funny for all, and not more of an “it was funny at the time” story. Disclaimer – I did laugh at B’s story because her voice imitations are hilarious!
On another note about traveling solo verses with your significant other, for me, it reminds me that I am solo, in the aspect of a love relationship, all the time. Which of course makes me think about my Matchprofile, which I haven’t touched in a month. Why? Maybe it’s because there hasn’t been any quality contact from prospective love interests. Maybe it’s because I have already resigned myself to the fact that Matchis clearly not going to give me a second chance at love. Or maybe, it’s because I haven’t been on there in a month to update anything or to swipe right, or left. In any case, I have already decided that it’s going to happen, but through more traditional means. I’m talking about the accidental “bumped into him” in the grocery store, or at the gym. Maybe this solo (with B) trip to NOLA, is going to yield some results. Wouldn’t that be fantastic? You will know either way when next weeks blog comes out. It will be titled either, Solo No More or Solo To The Max.
Safe travel to all, solo or not!
Until next time…