Flying Solo

Image source: Reuters

Recently, I was discussing last year’s round-the-world trip when the person I was speaking to asked incredulously if I’d done the entire trip alone.  “Why, of course,” was my response.  “How else would I have done it?”

See, most people I know have some type of full-time job that only gives them a couple weeks of vacation (unless they’re teachers), and part of that is usually spent visiting family.  Then, there’s the issue of financial priorities; most people find other things to do with their money than book plane tickets just for the  intangible sense of enjoyment and personal development that comes with travel, not when there’s a plasma TV to buy.  And also, some people just need to have companionship on the road.  Nothing at all wrong with that; it’s actually wonderful to share a travel experience with people who have complimentary chemistry.

But the friends I do have who travel often are either working while I’m traveling (or vice versa), or they’re already traipsing off to the other side of the world from where I am.  If there’s no barbecue involved, very rarely am I able to coordinate friends and family for an international trip.  In fact, I can only count four independent trips that I’ve ever taken with people whose company I can stand for more than ten minutes.  Romantic trips, even less (hook-ups don’t count).

The major flip side, however, is that when I’m traveling solo, I have those incredible interactions with people I’d never have if I were trying to keep up with my travelmate.  I’d miss out on many a hottie while hugged up with the honey I brought from home.  And I’d lose the freedom that comes with not being responsible for anyone but myself.  For me, that’s motivation enough to fly solo.

That, and the fact that if I waited for other people to get it together and buy the damn plane ticket, I’d never be going anywhere.

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6 Responses to Flying Solo

  1. Regi Pettaway says:

    You are spot on. Myf riends always ask me “Why are you going by yourself?” As if, there are no peeps at my destination! Don’t the people in that country count? Unless I’m meeting someone who lives in the country, flyin solo is the only way. Group travel makes you miss out on too much. Solo, baby!!

  2. Old Geezer says:

    There are not only interesting people at your destination, there are interesting people along the way. If I am traveling with someone, I am focused inward. When I travel alone, I am always focused outward. Far better.

  3. Fly Brother says:

    @Regi: Seriously, people act like you’re traipsing off to Antarctica or something when you say you’re traveling alone. There are amazing folk to encounter everywhere you go!

    @Geezer: Very true; when I’m with other people, even good friends, I become especially self-conscious, which can ruin a trip. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Steven Roll says:

    I took my first solo trip this year when I went to Guatemala for a week. One unintended benefit was when things didn’t work out as I expected, I didn’t have to worry about managing anyone else’s expectations or worrying how they would react to sparse conditions etc. It was just me. As a result, the work of muscling through surprises or setbacks was much lighter.

  5. thistimenow says:

    The people who are apprehensive about traveling solo are always the people who have poor social skills. These people are usually the ones who can’t even say “hello” to a passerby.

  6. KiteZA says:

    Oh man, exactly.

    I’d love to be able to travel around with people who are comfortable with doing the same things I’m doing (while still being pushed a bit out of their comfort zone) and vice versa, but so often it’s just a pain to organise.

    At the same time, there’s something extremely rewarding about going on your own mission across the globe and being forced into interaction, rather than having the ability to stay within a bubble while experiencing the place at a surface level.

    Personally, I’ve loved meeting people in places I go to and travelling around with them a bit – even if they’re not locals (one of my friends here in Rio de Janeiro was a French guy I met on arrival). Really interesting people to be met just about everywhere!

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