My work has taken me to some really amazing places – all here in the U.S. (so far!) – and all very cool and unique in their own right. In fact, I was taken to some places that I probably wouldn’t have ever explored, had I not been “forced” to go for work. So for that, I’m thankful. But what’s really been cool about being able to travel so much is that I’ve learned that traveling by myself is actually a lot of fun. And rewarding at the same time!
My first-ever solo travel was back in 2014 – I was in between jobs. I had one week before I was starting a new job, and a friend offered up her parents (empty) house in Florida. Given that I had the week off – I decided to go for a few days during that week – when everyone else was working. So, I didn’t really have a choice – either I traveled alone, or I didn’t go at all. I opted to go, and it was life-changing.
I didn’t actually do anything. Besides, read books, lay by the pool, swim and nap. That’s it. And all that “nothing” was exactly what I needed to refuel my soul. From then on, I knew that traveling alone wasn’t so bad. Fast forward a couple years and I was doing it nearly bi-weekly! That said, traveling alone for work is definitely different than traveling alone for vacation. But, the reward is similar.
This past week, I needed some R&R. Every year around this time I start getting antsy. I live in Boston, with a winter that’s totally unpredictable. Perhaps it was my upbringing – we’d travel fairly frequently – or the fact that I’m a water baby through and through. Whatever it is, I need to go somewhere warm (usually Florida, because it’s close-ish, and a safe bet weather-wise), and I need Vitamin D. It’s for my sanity!
So, I packed up and headed to Florida – yet again. This time though, I decided to go by myself. Again, taking a few days out of the week (perks of being your own boss!), to kick back, relax, and soak up those golden rays. 😎
When it comes to traveling alone, I’ve realized a few things – a few super awesome and empowering things.
You Get to do Everything…or Nothing.
That’s right. You choose. Why? Because it’s only you. If you want to go sightsee, go. If you want hang by the pool for days on end (that’s me!), then do it. There’s no one to “check in” with. There’s nothing else to consider – just do you.
You Hone Your Socialization Skills
When you’re alone, and you’re feeling semi-social – guess what? You’ve got to step out of your comfort zone and talk to strangers. Whaaat? Yup. You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to suck it up, go downstairs to the hotel bar, grab a drink (and maybe dinner!) and sit there…by yourself and wait for someone to come along to talk to. For introverts like myself (yes, I’m an introvert – a social introvert – but an introvert nonetheless), it’s definitely awkward. But, you’ve got to put your big boy/girl pants on, and do it. Chances are, you’ll meet some pretty cool people. I have!
In fact, just this week when I was in Daytona Beach, I met a really sweet older lady (I’m guessing mid-late 70s) – we kept running into each other at the elevator. Finally, after the second “meet-cute”, we started chatting. Come to find out, she was also traveling solo – but this was actually her first time ever doing it. She immediately told me how much she was enjoying it and how she wished she would have done it when she was “my age”. I don’t know about you, but I never want to look back at my life and wish I would have done things differently. #yolo
Your Brain Gets a Break
Because you don’t have to make any major decisions (besides whether to do the pool or beach, in my case), you get to allow your brain to just…chill. That’s one of the most important things for me. I joked earlier about needing Vitamin D for my sanity. Well, it’s partially true. What I really need though, is just a break. And by the way, that is totally OKAY. I feel like this day in age we’re always on the go. Multi-tasking, running here, running there, trying to please everyone we come in contact with – from work to relationships. We all need to take some time for ourselves. It’s good. It’s healthy.
So if you have an opportunity to take a couple days for yourself and escape, I highly encourage you to do so. Whether you’re an adventurer or a sun goddess, you’ll learn something and most importantly, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind experience. Isn’t that what life’s about after all? The experiences we’ve had and the memories that have stemmed from those experiences? So go forth – and TRAVEL…alone.😁