Traveling alone is intensely personal. It’s all about you figuring it out on your own. And it sure feels good – for some time.
So here I am on my first solo trip (if you don’t count my semester abroad as a trip) spending some quality time with myself. I took a plane to Los Angeles, rented a car and I am lucky enough to stay at my friends’ beautiful home while they are away. After one week of going solo, it’s time for a short recap.
The number one thing I’m already enjoying about this trip is the aspect of self-determination. Every day is entirely my day and how full I want to pack it is up to me. The schedule is mine to decide and I get to choose which activities are legitimate. Staying on a mountain top that no one else would care about for hours, having pasta for dinner three days in a row, chilling the day away watching Netflix or changing my mind on the spot – I can do exactly what I want. All the time.
The only person I have to care about is me. And choosing my activities without expectations from others actually sheds some light on what I want to do with my time (obviously it’s mostly spending time outside, but surprisingly also a lot more relaxing things).
Another plus side of this freedom is that my bad decisions are my own too. On my last trip to the beach I decided that an alternative way home would be much more scenic and I ended up stuck in traffic for more than two hours. Interestingly, I didn’t really care because it did not affect anyone else. There was nobody to blame and nobody to judge. It did not ruin someone else’s evening and I was fine with coming home late and listening to hip-hop on the radio until then.
At least once a day it also feels unsettling that I have no one to watch my back. My family and friends are a few thousand miles and an ocean away and I am forced to be my own counsel and pay some extra attention to things like memorising the way back to my car. Traveling alone makes me feel uneasy in some moments like when my Uber driver doesn’t exactly look trustworthy or sober. But most of the time it builds confidence. The triumphs and the thrills simply feel bigger when you are all by yourself. And I have to admit that I do feel pretty gangster when cruising around the streets of L.A. in my Toyota Prius as if I had it all figured out.
So in conclusion, traveling solo gives me the chance to experience many things: to clear my head, to feel self-sufficient, to rely on my own resourcefulness, to notice things in different ways because I have got the time to take a closer look. BUT I still feel that without my favorite people to share it with – it’s not all that good.
Exchanging a couple of words with locals is nice and then actually being invited over for a barbeque is even nicer, but sharing lasting memories with loved ones still ranks on the top of my list. And I know this might not be true for everyone, for every destination or for every phase of life, but, right here and right now, I feel that sharing your stay with someone you truly care about is better.
Good to know that people to share it with are on the way 🙂